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Universal Design for Learning

UDL in the Classroom

The following lists are a mix of checkpoints from the UDL guidelines and strategies that you can implement in your courses. UDL does not need to be a large-scale undertaking - you don't need to completely dismantle your course and start from scratch. 


  • Provide lesson goals in multiple ways and encourage learner to restate the goal in their own words
  • Provide flexible work spaces by incorporating individual, partner, and group work 
  • Ask learners to participate in the design of learning activities and assessments
  • Foster collaboration and communication
  • Use classroom response system (clickers, Poll Everywhere, Mentimeter, etc.) for anonymous feedback from students
  • Provide opportunities for self-assessment and reflection (one-minute paper, muddiest point, etc.)


  • Share content in a variety of ways: digital, audio, images, handouts, textbook, websites, etc.
  • Utilize interactive learning activities
  • Clarify vocabulary and symbols and define domain- or subject-specific vocabulary using both domain/subject-specific language and common language
  • Provide ways to connect concepts, ideas, and information (mind maps, scaffolding)
  • Allow the use of text-to-speech or speech-to-text
  • Provide alternative text descriptions for graphics, images, and charts

Action & Expression

  • Offer choices on how students demonstrate their knowledge
  • Offer opportunities to review content or practice skills
  • Provide a variety of communication and feedback options
  • Utilize digital accessibility remediation tools to create alternative formats and provide responsive content
  • Provide ways for learners to organize information and data (outlines, timelines, hierarchy, etc.)
  • Provide multiple examples of student work & assessments that meet the learning goal

Plus-One Approach

In Thomas Tobin and Kirsten Behling’s book Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education, the authors suggest identifying a place in your course where students tend to struggle and use that as a starting point for applying UDL.  Ask yourself:

  • Where do they always have questions?
  • Where do my students seem to get things wrong on tests or assignments?
  • Where do my students ask for explanations in a different way from the one I provided? (p 134).

After you’ve identified these stumbling points, try to find just one more way that you can deliver the information or one more way students can demonstrate their skills. 

UDL Across the Disciplines: Examples

In addition to traditional assessments or review methods:

  • Accounting: have students practice filing tax returns based on the forms they will be using day-to-day
  • Nursing: have students create review materials for exams, including videos of positioning, processes, etc. that require 3-dimensional references (positioning for therapies, physical scans, etc.)
  • History: have students create video "reporting" on a historical event
  • Physics: create a "choose your own adventure" assessment that guides them through the basic problem solving steps or experiment steps, with corrective feedback for errors