September 18, 2019
Host: Kimberly Coy

A person examining charts and graphs on a tablet
A person examining charts and graphs on a tablet
Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash

Universal Design for Learning is often thought of as a framework only for classroom teachers or professors. But what about UDL in the workplace? We learn all the time in our workplaces, through training, learning new strategies, new technologies, and when we change careers. All of those learning experiences can benefit from a more inclusive and goal-oriented framework for planning and designing the learning that happens in a workplace.

Here were our questions to prompt our thinking:

  • Q1: Can you point to an example of where you may have seen UDL outside of education?
  • Q2: What would a UDL school office have in it? …


September 4, 2019
Host: Barb Gentille Green

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Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash

The beginning of a school year, semester, or new learning event offers a great opportunity to reflect on your routines and practices around Universal Design for Learning. It’s an opportunity to design for success — for you and for your learners.

Here were the questions we explored to help us think about designing for success:

  • Q1: How can we design the learning environment, establish routines and expectations at the beginning of the year to foster collaboration?
  • Q2: How can we design the learning environment, establish routines and expectations at the beginning of the year to minimize threats and distractions? …


August 21, 2019
Co-hosts: Ron Rogers & Alexis Reid

A student and an educator working together in front of a computer
A student and an educator working together in front of a computer
Photo by NESA by Makers on Unsplash

With all the content and subject matter educators are responsible for teaching, it’s sometimes easy to forget the emotional barriers that can prevent our learners from reaching our learning goals. This conversation was all about how to mitigate some of these barriers through awareness and strategies around our learners’ needs.

Our thoughtful questions for the chat were:

  • Q1: How do you establish a culture of caring, compassionate, and respectful learning?
  • Q2: As an adult learner, what are some of the triggers (things that set off a strong emotional response) or barriers that get in your way of reaching a goal? …


August 7, 2019
Host: Joni Degner

The back of a school bus on a sunny day
The back of a school bus on a sunny day
Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

It’s back to school time in the U.S. and other parts of the world! What are some ways to get ready with Universal Design for Learning?

Our questions focused on our summer learning and plans for the new year:

  • Q1. What is the best professional learning you’ve gotten this summer?
  • Q2. What is one new thing you plan to do with your learners this year?
  • Q3. What UDL Guidelines do you go to to help you create a welcoming learning environment on the first day?
  • Q4. Fill in the blanks: This year, I hope my learners _________________, and I’m designing for that by ________________. …

June 5, 2019
Host: Mindy Johnson

Letter board and a plant. “Difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations.”
Letter board and a plant. “Difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations.”
Photo by Hello I'm Nik 🇬🇧 on Unsplash

Many of our #UDLchat participants in the U.S. take a break over the summer to rest and recharge. As David Rose, co-founder of CAST, says, “Teaching is emotional work,” and we all need some recovery time after a school year full of teaching and learning.

Our motivating questions were:

  • Q1: Between designing and implementing learning experiences, how do you recharge your practice? How do you keep motivated?
  • Q2: How do you keep your goals, assessments, materials, and methods fresh and up-to-date with current UDL thinking?
  • Q3: What are some UDL-adjacent or UDL-related topics you want to learn more about?

Check out the great responses to our conversation in the #UDLchat archive:

How do you keep motivated in your instructional practice? Let us know in the comments or use the #UDLchat hashtag on Twitter.


May 15, 2019
Host: Bryan Dean

A person‘s feet near a glassy puddle of water in pavement. The person’s reflection is visible in the puddle.
A person‘s feet near a glassy puddle of water in pavement. The person’s reflection is visible in the puddle.
Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

Reflection and redesign are essential practices within high quality Universal Design for Learning implementation. Once we’ve designed and implemented a particular learning experience, our work has just begun. Best practice dictates that we should reflect on that learning experience: What went well? What might we change next time? What barriers didn’t we anticipate? Who did we leave out of our design?

Reflecting on our practice is a core part of the success of the #UDLchat community. Our questions for this chat were:

  • Q1: Identify one UDL win you experienced this year. …


May 1, 2019
Host: Mindy Johnson

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A crosswalk pedestrian signal with directions, including text, pictures, a blinking “WAIT”, and an auditory signal when it’s safe to cross the street | Photo by Alex on Unsplash

Our brains are always learning, no matter where we are or what we’re doing; learning is not limited to structured learning environments, such as digital or in-person classrooms. Education professionals work hard to implement Universal Design for Learning in these settings, but examples of UDL exist outside these environments as well. If the goal of UDL is expert learning, then part of becoming an expert learner is recognizing UDL out in the world as informal instances of implicit or explicit instruction.

We often say that once you start to internalize the UDL framework, you start to find UDL everywhere. …


April 17, 2019
Host: Kimberly Coy

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A mentor teacher working with a teacher candidate | Photo by Monica Melton on Unsplash

One of the tenets of Universal Design for Learning is that designing learning experiences from the start with the UDL framework in mind is often more effective than retrofitting existing curricula and environments. This doesn’t mean retrofitting shouldn’t happen. In fact, retrofitting and re-designing are often essential where established systems exist. But think about buildings. …


April 3, 2019
Co-hosts: Barb Gentille Green & Allison Posey

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Watercolor painting of a human brain | Graphic by Cassandra Sell, © CAST 2018

As David Rose, co-founder of CAST — the organization that pioneered the UDL Framework and UDL Guidelines— so eloquently stated, “At its core, teaching is emotional work.” Allison Posey, in her book Engage the Brain: How to Design for Learning That Taps into the Power of Emotion from ASCD, asserts that learning is also emotional work.

Allison joined us as Barb’s guest host for #UDLchat this week, and our questions focused on themes throughout her book:

  • Q1: What do you do to ensure that learners perceive your learning environment and activities in a positive way, setting the emotional foundation for learning to occur? …


March 20, 2019
Co-hosts: Kate Edgren & Ron Rogers

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A case full of pens, cards, sticky notes, and other materials for brainstorming | Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

People love checklists. We love ticking little boxes to show progress or crossing items off a list to feel a sense of accomplishment in having completed a series of tasks. One of the big misconceptions about Universal Design for Learning is that it is a checklist to follow — that at some point you will be “done” with your UDL implementation with every item ticked and a magically transformed learning environment. Nothing could be further from reality.

Universal Design for Learning is more than its guidelines, and the UDL Guidelines are not a checklist. The Guidelines are a tool to guide the implementation of UDL. The UDL Framework, developed by CAST in the 1980s, is about intentionally planning for learner variability, developing and communicating clear learning goals, removing unnecessary barriers that prevent learners from reaching those goals, and maintaining high expectations for all learners. …

About

UDL Center

The National Center on Universal Design for Learning at CAST. Together we can change the world.

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