Universal Design for Learning

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to instructional design that is built on the premise that good design benefits all students. Rather than merely making ad hoc accommodations for students with disabilities or special needs, UDL offers a way to integrate varied modalities, assessments, and forms of engagement that will enhance the learning of all students, regardless of ability or prior experience. Good UDL is like all good course design; it is driven by your course objectives and learning goals.

Multiple Means of Representation

You create/select representations so that students can best comprehend a topic. This encompasses stimulating  images, audio, text, graphical representations, or hands-on practice/demos or other modalities.

Multiple Means of
Action and Expression

Students participate in multiple  actions that practice and demonstrate their learning. This can include oral presentation, exams, written work, group projects, or creating models, among other activities.

Multiple Means of Engagement

You provide stimulating opportunities for student engagement in order to recruit student interest and sustain efforts. In order for students to become self-directed learners, they must be provided with opportunities to think about what they have learned from multiple forms of engagement, including solo-work, group work, reflective writing, or public forums, among others.


As educators, it is our responsibility to make sure our online content, digital documents (Word, PDFs, …) and presentation materials (slides), and other instructional content is accessible to all students, regardless of their needs, preferences and situations. The UD Accessibility development team has compiled the tools and information you need to get started making your content accessible across various platforms, software, and services.

Additional Resources:

  • Accessible Syllabus – This website is dedicated to helping instructors build a syllabus that plans for diverse student abilities
  • CAST is a nonprofit education research and development organization that works to expand learning opportunities for all individuals through Universal Design for Learning. They created UDL guidelines offering a set of concrete suggestions that can be applied to any discipline or domain to ensure that all learners can access and participate in meaningful, challenging learning opportunities.
  • The National Center on Accessible Materials Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) or Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) are materials that allow the widest possible range of learners to engage with content, regardless of ability. This website provides an overview of AEM and AIM, and resources for how to create materials that all learners can benefit from.