#UDLchat: Answering the How

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

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.

But how do we accomplish these lofty ideals? How do we bring UDL from theory to practice? How do we ensure that UDL isn’t interpreted as a checklist, but that it is experienced in its full complexity and nuance?

Here were the “HOW” questions we discussed at #UDLchat:

  • Q1: How do you include other teachers, staff, and administrators in your UDL instructional planning and design?
  • Q2: How do you include/discuss UDL with school families and communities?
  • Q3: How do you link UDL to the larger educational plan within your district, county or state?
  • Q4: How do you personally want to move UDL forward?

Our #UDLchat PLN did not disappoint with a lively and informed discussion from a wide range of experience implementing UDL, from pre-service educators to higher education faculty.

What are your “HOW” questions about UDL implementation? How would you answer the questions from the chat? Let us know in the comments below or add your thoughts on Twitter using the #UDLchat hashtag.