Universal Design for Learning: Impact on policy, practice, and partnerships for inclusive education

In Action Alert, Inclusive Education by Lauren Barnett

Universal Design for Learning: Impact on policy, practice, and partnerships for inclusive education

July 22, 2021 | | Action Alert |

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a pathway for education and learning that removes obstacles to learning, creating an optimal environment for success in the classroom. UDL promotes equal opportunity for all students to succeed. The goal of UDL is to overcome barriers to learning by employing diverse teaching methods and providing flexibility in the classroom, capitalizing on each student’s strengths and identifying individual learning needs.

UDL engages three different brain networks that each focus on a different facet of learning: Engagement, Representation, and Expression. Each network is connected to the why, what, and how of learning, respectively, with each network requiring various teaching methods to be stimulated. By employing a set of guidelines that specifically target each of these areas, UDL ensures that students with different learning needs and goals will be actively engaged in the classroom. 

At the Global Education Summit this year, Universal Design for Learning will be featured in one of the side events. Speakers with backgrounds in research, policy, school systems, and classrooms will share their experiences in the development and application of UDL practices. Pulling from their varied backgrounds, the speakers will focus on one of the four discussion themes: Research, Policy, Systems, and Classrooms. Each theme will discuss the various facets of UDL and address different barriers to UDL implementation. 

After a brief overview of each discussion theme is given, participants will have the opportunity to further explore one of the four topics in a separate breakout room. The research breakout room will explore principles of effective UDL research, specifically in low-resource areas. In the second breakout room on policy, facilitators will focus on how policy can be implemented concretely both at the national and local levels. The third breakout room on systems will provide practical solutions to implementing UDL in a variety of school systems. The last breakout room in classrooms will explore how UDL promotes inclusive education by offering tangible examples from current classrooms.

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