Log in

Select universal technologies and design for personalisation, a UDL approach

  • Public
Started by Chrissie Butler 18 Nov 2013 3:28pm () Replies (2)

Implementing Universal Design for Learning (UDL) without digital tools is possible, but the technologies open the door to learning for so many more students.

Take a look at the video below. Consider how that same solution (background music and headphones) might give confidence to other students who dread public speaking or oral exams.

Explaining UDL to colleagues

UDL is a framework for designing learning that builds in support and flexibility at the outset. It is about acknowledging from the beginning that there is huge variability in student's cultural backgrounds, their needs, strengths, and the experiences they bring. From that place of predictable variability, UDL provides us with a set of guidelines to help us recognise and remove barriers to learning for students and replace them with opportunities:

  • rich in choices 
  • connected to subjects of interest, value and relevance 
  • scaffolded with built-in supports

Planning with UDL

So when we plan using UDL, we turn the old model of planning from the mythical middle on it's head. Instead we look at the strengths and needs of a group of learners in a particular context:

  • We start our thinking from those students "at the edges" rather than the mythical middle or average student.
  • We plan learning that will work for those students, build in choices and supports at the outset that will enable those students to connect their culture and interests to the learning.
  • Then we create a flexible, choice-rich learning opportunity based on our planning from the edges, combined with effective pedagogies such as peer tutoring, co-operative learning, and an inquiry approach.
  • Students are then encouraged to personalise their learning so that it works for them.

UDL planning resources

At a recent workshop, we began to have a look at possible UDL technology choices aligned with the 3 principles of UDL. Our focus was to try and pinpoint which tools we could regular build into learning as a kind of universal tool kit for students. We were particularly interested in tools that provide access and support and can be made available to all students all the time.

If you are new to UDL, here are some links you might like to explore:


  • Patrick Pink (View all users posts) 21 Nov 2013 1:33pm ()

    I always appreciate the voices of young people who share their stories of how they learn through a variety of teaching/learning tools, including technology.  With connection and success, engagement can be fostered and maintained beyond the initial 'shiny' lure of new devices.  Personalisation of universal technologies begins to open up possibilities, choice, and better understanding of what works best for the individual to gather information and express their thoughts and interests.  It can open doors and remove barriers.

    The following two videos are of young people who discuss how technologies have created possibilities and choice for them, both within the classroom and beyond into real life.    

Join this group to contribute to discussions.