What is Universal Design for Learning?


Traditional curricula are ‘one-size-fits-all,’ and neglect the needs of a diverse student population. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a proactive approach that uses instructional strategies while taking advantage of flexible technologies (through learning materials) to support diverse learning needs. 

Three Guiding Principles:


  1. Provide multiple means of representing or presenting information.
  2. Provide flexible methods for students to express understanding.
  3. Provide flexible ways for students to engage in the learning process.



Considered a scientifically valid framework, UDL is rooted in studies that have revealed a great deal of variability in how the brains of learners respond to learning tasks. This research suggests the existence of three networks in the brain that coordinate three fundamental aspects of learning: the recognition of patterns, the planning and generation of patterns, and the selection and prioritization of patterns. These areas map nicely onto Vygotsky’s three learning prerequisites (e.g. recognition of information to be learned, utilization of strategies that process that information, and engagement with the learning task) and were the inspiration for UDL’s three guiding principles.

See the UDL-IRN Created Resources..

Learn more at the National Center on Universal Design for Learning.