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Universal Design for Learning

Provide multiple means of Engagement

The WHY of learning: Engagement and Motivation

"Learners differ markedly in the ways in which they can be engaged or motivated to learn. There are a variety of sources that can influence individual variation in affect including neurology, culture, personal relevance, subjectivity, and background knowledge, along with a variety of other factors. Some learners are highly engaged by spontaneity and novelty while others are disengaged, even frightened, by those aspects, preferring strict routine. Some learners might like to work alone, while others prefer to work with their peers."


  • Recruiting Interest: Spark excitement and curiosity for learning
  • Sustaining Effort and Persistence: Tackle challenges with focus and determination
  • Self-Regulation: Harness the power of emotions and motivation in learning

Provide multiple means of Representation

The WHAT of learning: Perception and Comprehension

"Learners differ in the ways that they perceive and comprehend information that is presented to them. For example, those with sensory disabilities (e.g., blindness or deafness); learning disabilities (e.g., dyslexia); language or cultural differences, and so forth may all require different ways of approaching content. Others may simply grasp information quicker or more efficiently through visual or auditory means rather than printed text. Also learning, and transfer of learning, occurs when multiple representations are used, because they allow students to make connections within, as well as between, concepts."


  • Perception: Interact with flexible content that doesn't depend on a single sense like sight, hearing, movement, or touch.
  • Language & Symbols: Communicate through languages that create a shared understanding.
  • Comprehension: Construct meaning and generate new understandings. 

Provide multiple means of Action & Expression

The HOW of learning: Navigation and Expression

"Learners differ in the ways that they can navigate a learning environment and express what they know. For example, individuals with significant movement impairments (e.g., cerebral palsy), those who struggle with strategic and organizational abilities (executive function disorders), those who have language barriers, and so forth approach learning tasks very differently. Some may be able to express themselves well in written text but not speech, and vice versa. It should also be recognized that action and expression require a great deal of strategy, practice, and organization, and this is another area in which learners can differ."


  • Physical Action: Interact with accessible materials and tools
  • Expression & Communication: Compose and share ideas using tools that help attain learning goals
  • Executive Functions: Develop and act on plans to make the most out of learning