Want to make creations as awesome as this one?

More creations to inspire you


Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Julia Amodeo, Fleur D'Sylva, Alanna Northcott & Rebecca Olesky

Technology Connections



Action & Expression

UDL is an educational framework that accommodates the diverse needs and abilities of learners, benefitting all students by removing unnecessary obstacles during the learning process (Cornell University, 2024).

(CAST, 2020)

Test Your Knowledge!

What is UDL?




Main Principles

Course Connections

Infographic Connections









What does a UDL classroom look like?

Google Forms

EngagementFor purposeful, motivated learners, stimulate interest and motivation for learning (Takacs & Zhang, 2020).

RepresentationFor resourceful, knowledgeable learners, present information and content in different ways (Takacs & Zhang, 2020).

Action & ExpressionFor strategic, goal-directed learners, differentiate the ways that students can express what they know (Takacs & Zhang, 2020).


Provide Mutiple Means of

"WHY" of Learning

Purposeful & Motivated

Affective Networks

(CAST, 2024b)

Students have varying interests and attention spans, which may shift as they acquire knowledge and skills. Therefore, educators should offer alternative options to spark curiosity among learners.

Internalize - Self-Regulation

Build - Sustaining Effort and Persistence

Access - Recruiting Learner's Interest

"Set a vision for the goal and why it matters"It is essential that learners are aware of the vision and its relevance to maintain their effort and concentration. Educators are encouraged to remind students of the vision by displaying objectives in various ways and encourage learners to break down overall goals into subgoals to ensure that they stay focused on the vision.

Self-regulation is an important skill for the application of UDL to be successful in the classroom. "Teachers and settings that address self-regulation explicitly will be most successful in applying the UDL principles through modeling and prompting a variety of methods. A successful approach requires providing sufficient alternatives to support learners with very different aptitudes and prior experience to manage their own engagement and effect" (CAST, 2024b).

"Empower students to take charge of their own learning through individual choice and autonomy""The right kind of choice and level of independence must be optimized to ensure engagement" (CAST, 2024b). Learners should be involved in the learning process whenever possible and participate in the design of their learning experiences. Additionally, learners should be given freedom and choice by providing options for tasks, such as the tools they use, the level of challenge, and the rewards they receive (CAST, 2024b).

"Connect learning to experiences that are meaningful and valuable"The content and tasks presented to learners must align with both personal and instructional goals. Educators should highlight the relevance of information and activities. Learners will find relevance or value of content and activities differently based on their perspectives. To ensure student engagement, educators must equally arouse curiosity in learners by providing choice to optimize the relevance and value of information and tasks for all. This can be achieved by offering diverse activities and materials; encouraging active involvement, investigation, and experimentation with the appropriate tasks; encouraging personal connections, evaluation, and reflection; and providing activities that stimulate learners imagination and creativity (CAST, 2024b).

"Foster a safe space to learn and take risks""The optimal instructional environment offers options that reduce threats and negative distractions for everyone to create a safe space in which learning can occur" (CAST, 2024b). Students' perceptions of potential threats and distractions can vary, as individuals have different factors that negatively impact their learning. Educators can reduce this issue by establishing an accepting and encouraging learning atmosphere; providing variability in the level of novelty/risk and sensory stimulation of tasks; involving all learners in class discussion; and providing variation in social demands, level of support, and evaluation requirements (CAST, 2024b).

"Vary demands and resources to optimize challenges" Students are motivated to perform their best when faced with diverse challenges, as not all learners are challenged in the same manner. It is crucial to provide learners with appropriate demands and the necessary resources to ensure their success. "Providing a range of demands, and a range of possible resources, allows all learners to find challenges that are optimally motivating" (CAST, 2024b).

"Foster collaboration and community"Collaboration and communication are essential skills for ensuring the success of all learners in the classroom and beyond. "Options should be provided in how learners build and utilize these skills" (CAST, 2024b). Some of these options include guiding learners to understand when and how to ask for assistance, promoting and facilitating peer connections, and establishing guidelines for group work.

"Increase mastery-oriented feedback by emphasizing the role of effort and process"Mastery feedback focuses on the significance of effort and practice over IQ or innate abilities, fostering long-term habits and contributing to learners' success. To provide effective mastery feedback, educators should concentrate on the learner's effort, improvement, and perserverance rather than solely on the result. They should also assist learners in incorporating feedback into their future work, encouraging them to learn from errors and strive for future success.

When learners are motivated, they are better able to control their attention and emotions in order to uphold their effort and concentration in learning. Since learners differ in their motivation and their ability to manage attention and emotions, educators should aim to support students who "differ in initial motivation, self-regulation skills, etc." (CAST, 2024b).

CAST's Webpage

"Set personal goals that inspire confidence and ownership of learning"Learners must establish realistic personal goals and cultivate a mindset that supports success in achieving these goals. Additionally, students need to learn how to effectively manage frustration and anxiety when working towards their objectives. Providing learners with multiple options is essential to maintaining their motivation (CAST, 2024b).

"Facilitate personal coping skills and strategies"Educators can help students in regulating their emotions by offering models, scaffolding, and feedback on managing frustration, seeking emotional support, and developing coping skills for regulating emotions (CAST, 2024b).

"Increase self-awareness around progress toward goals and how to learn from mistakes""In order to develop better capacity for self-regulation, learners need to monitor their emotions and reactivity" (CAST, 2024b). Learners are often highly motivated by their progress and will lose motivation if they have an inability to recognize the progress they have made. Educators should "offer devices, aids, or charts to assist" learners in tracking their progress toward self-regulation (CAST, 2024b).

CAST's Webpage

(CAST, 2024c)

"Learning is impossible if information is imperceptible to the learner, and difficult when information is presented in formats that require extraordinary effort or assistance. To reduce barriers to learning, it is important to ensure that key information is equally perceptible to all learners" (CAST, 2024c).

"Clarify vocabulary and symbols"To ensure accessibility for all, key vocabulary, labels, icons, and symbols should be linked to, or associated with, alternate representations of their meaning (e.g., an embedded glossary or definition, a graphic equivalent, a chart or map) (CAST, 2024c).

For students to access knowledge in the future, they must understand the presented information. Therefore, the curriculum and lessons should be designed to present information logically, and educators should "provide the scaffolds as necessary to ensure that all learners have access to knowledge" (CAST, 2024c).

"Offer ways of customizing the display of information"Information can be presented in a more flexible and customizable way in digital formats compared to hard copies, provided that the technology has been properly prepared and organized. The adaptability of various technologies enables information to be more apparent and accessible to a broader range of learners, while also allowing for customization to accommodate individual preferences.

"Offer alternatives for auditory information""Information conveyed solely through sound is not equally accessible to all learners and is especially inaccessible for learners with hearing disabilities, for learners who need more time to process information, or for learners who have memory difficulties" (CAST, 2024c). To meet the needs and preferences of all learners, various options should be provided for accessing information, such as written transcripts or an ASL interpreter for videos and audio; automated speech-to-text or captions; and visual diagrams (CAST, 2024c).

"Offer alternatives for visual information""Images, graphics, animations, video or text are often the optimal way to present information, but visual representations are not equally accessible to all learners, especially learners with visual disabilities or those who are not familiar with the type of graphic being used" (CAST, 2024c). To accommodate all learners, it is essential to offer non-visual alternatives as well. These alternatives may include descriptions for all visuals, text read aloud, or access to text-to-speech software (CAST, 2024c).

"WHAT" of Learning

Resourceful & Knowledgeable

Recogniton Networks

"Clarify syntax and structure" Students are motivated to perform at their best with different challenges, not all learners are challenged in the same way. Learners needs to be provided with appropriate demands as well as the resources to ensure their success. "Providing a range of demands, and a range of possible resources, allows all learners to find challenges that are optimally motivating" (CAST, 2024c).

"Make sure text and symbols don't get in the way of the learning goal" "To ensure all learners have equal access to knowledge, at least when the ability to decode is not the focus of instruction, it is important to provide options to reduce the barriers that decoding raises for learners who are unfamiliar or dysfluent with the symbols" (CAST, 2024c). To ensure equal access, educators can allow the "use of text-to-speech, the use of digital text with a human voice recording, allow for flexibility and easy access to multiple representations of notations where appropriate, and offer clarification of notions through lists of key terms" (CAST, 2024c).

"Promote understanding across languages" Providing linguistic alternatives is an essential aspect of accessibility. Educators can enhance information accessibility by presenting it in both the primary and the first language, clarifying "domain-specific vocabulary" using everyday language and key terms from the domain, offer translation tools to learners, and providing descriptions for visuals.

"Inequalities arise when information is presented to all learners through a single form of representation. An important instructional strategy is to ensure that alternative representations are provided not only for accessibility, but for clarity and comprehensibility across all learners" (CAST, 2024c).

Access - Perception

Build - Language & Symbols

Internalize - Comprehension

"Activate or supply background knowledge" Learners need to have "options available that supply or activate relevant prior knowledge or link the prerequisite information elsewhere" (CAST, 2024c). This can be reached through the use of graphic organizers such as know, wonder and learn (KWL) charts or concept maps, and by teaching or reviewing background information before introducing new content.

"Highlight patterns, critical features, big ideas, and relationships" Experts are efficient in determining relevant information while disregarding irrelevant details. Educators can enhance content accessibility by providing students with the tools to identify and focus on key information. Educators can "use prompts to draw attention to critical features and highlight or emphasize key elements in text, graphics, diagrams, and formulas" (CAST, 2024c).

"Guide information processing and visualization" Processing the information involves selecting and focusing on relevant information, enabling learners to recall and reterive it in the future. Educators can guide this process by providing interactive models to present content and progressively releasing information to students (CAST, 2024c).


Provide Mutiple Means of

"Illustrate through mutiple media" To ensure all students' needs and preferences are met, offer content and information in multiple formats. Present information in a primary format, but also provide alternative options. Establish connections between the information and any graphics, such as equations, charts, or diagrams, that are included (CAST, 2024c).

"Apply learning to new contexts" Educators can achieve the application of learning by prompting and guiding learners through various techniques.

(CAST, 2024a)

It is important that educators provide students with interactive materials that offer assistive technologies "through which individuals with movement impairments can navigate and express what they know; to allow navigation or interaction with a single switch, through voice-activated switches, expanded keyboards, and others" (CAST, 2024a).

"Use mutiple media for communication"Presenting information with multimedia is important because these "alternatives reduce media-specific barriers to expression among learners with a variety of special needs, but also increases the opportunities for all learners to develop a wider range of expression in a media-rich world" (CAST, 2024a). Multiple media includes presenting information with "text, speech, illustration, film, music, or video, physical manipulatives, social media, and interactive web tools (e.g., discussion forums)" (CAST, 2024a).

"The UDL framework typically involves efforts to expand executive capacity in two ways: 1) by scaffolding lower level skills so that they require less executive processing; and 2) by scaffolding high level executive skills and strategies so they are more effective and developed" (CAST, 2024a).

"Interact with tools and environments that make learning physically accessible to all"Students differ in their ability to execute physical tasks; therefore, it is important that educators provide alternatives to reduce the barriers of learners with motor impairments. Educators can provide students with many different physical alternatives including "interacting by hand, voice, single switch, joystick, keyboard, or adapted keyboards" (CAST, 2024a). Educators can minimize the obstacles in learning by providing "alternative means for response, selection, and composition. To provide equal opportunity for interaction with learning experiences, an instructor must ensure that there are multiple means for navigation and control is accessible" (CAST, 2024a).

"Optimize access to tools and assistive technologies"Learners should be offered the appropriate tools and the support in using these tools effectively. Educators must ensure that there are "keyboard commands for any mouse action so that learners can use common assistive technologies" (CAST, 2024a). Making a lesson accessible to learners should not remove the challenges of learning the material, but instead give students the tools to have equal access to the information to aid in their learning. The tools and assistive technologies may include "alternative keyboard commands for mouse action; access to alternative keyboards; and custom overlays for touch screens and keyboards" (CAST, 2024a).

"HOW" of Learning

Strategic & Goal-Directed

Strategic Networks

"Share thoughts and ideas using tools that complement the learning goal" Learners should be instructed on how to effectively use the tools provided to help them meet the success criteria. Educators can provide students the following tools that align with the expectations and challenges of the task, including "spellchecker, grammar checkers, word production software, text-to-speech software, human dictation, recording, calculators, graphing calculators, graph paper, sentences starters, virtual or concrete manipulatives, and web applications" (CAST, 2024a).

"Build fluencies with graduated levels of support for practice and performance" The role of educators is to "apply and gradually release scaffolds to support independent learning" (CAST, 2024a). The concept of scaffolding is crucial to ensure that students receive the appropriate level of support, tailored to their abilities and the difficulty of the task. The goal of scaffolding is to gradually empower students, giving them opportunities and autonomy to perform tasks with minimal assistance. Educators can support independent learning by providing "differentiated models to emulate (i.e. models that demonstrate the same outcomes but use differing approaches, strategies, skills, etc.) and differentiated mentors (i.e. teachers/tutors who use different approaches to motivate, guide, feedback or inform)," as well as providing "scaffolds that can be gradually released with increasing independence and skills, differentiated feedback (e.g., feedback that is accessible because it can be customized to individual learners) and provide multiple examples of novel solutions to authentic problems" (CAST, 2024a).

"Analyze growth over time and how to build from it" Educators must offer learners descriptive feedback to inform them of their progress and suggest improvements. Educators can use "assessment checklists, scoring rubrics, and multiple examples of annotated student work" (CAST, 2024a) to facilitate this process.

Internalize - Executive Functions

"Practice setting challenging and authentic goals" Progression in UDL with scaffolding allows learners to establish goals that are both "challenging and realistic" (CAST, 2024a). Educators can support students in learning and practicing effective goal-setting by providing: "prompts and scaffolds to estimate effort, resources and difficulty; models or examples of the process and product of goal-setting; guides and checklists for scaffolding goal-setting; and posted goals, objectives and schedules in an obvious place" (CAST, 2024a)

"Formulate reasonable plans for reaching goals" Educators assist students in formulating a plan to achieve their goals. To help learners further develop their strategic thinking, educators can engage in discussions, offer templates with checklists and schedules to aid in working toward the goal, and provide guidance break down long-term goals into smaller tasks (CAST, 2024a).

"Support organization and memory using flexible tools and processes"Educators can assist students in maintaining organization and focus. Techniques for organizing information include providing "checklists and guides for note-taking" (CAST, 2024a).


Provide Mutiple Means of

"While a learner with dyslexia may excel at story-telling in conversation, he may falter when telling that same story in writing. It is important to provide alternative modalities for expression, both to level the playing field among learners and to allow the learner to appropriately (or easily) express knowledge, ideas and concepts in the learning environment" (CAST, 2024a).

CAST's Webpage

Access - Physical Action

Build - Expression & Communication

Google Forms provides flexibility in how learners can respond to questions, allowing them to type responses, select from multiple choices, or upload files. This fosters students to demonstrate their understanding using strategies that work best for their abilities and preferences (OpenAI, 2024).

Action & Expression

Google Forms allows the integration of interactive elements, such as multiple-choice questions, short answer questions, and polls. These features engage students actively in the learning process and provide opportunities for them to express their understanding in different ways (OpenAI, 2024).



(EdTech Center, 2024)

Google Forms enables the incorporation of various media types, including text, images, and videos. These formats accommodate diverse learning preferences, ensuring that content is presented in a way that is accessible and understandable to all (OpenAI, 2024).

A video describing the multiple means of representation, the "what" of learning (Universal Design for Learning, 2021c).

A video describing the multiple means of action and expression, the "how" of learning (Universal Design for Learning, 2021).

This audio clip briefly overviews the importance of technology in Universal Design for Learning. Technology enhances accessibility and enables teachers to present information in various ways, which gives students options and choices in their learning.

(City of OskKosh, 2024)

YouTube empowers users to upload their own content, give and receive feedback through comments and 'likes', host live streams, and personalize channels with images and playlist options. These features give users the opportunity to express themselves in multiple ways.

Action & Expression

YouTube engages users by providing interactive features such as 'like' buttons, polls, and comments, promoting interaction with video publishers and other viewers. It also recommends similar videos to encourage continuous learning. The interaction amongst vewers fosters a sense of community and collaborative learning.



The platform offers closed captions and transcripts for accessibility, along with contrasting backgrounds for improved readability, incorporating both audio and visual elements. It also ensures compatibility across various screens, such as laptops and smartphones.

This video provides an overview of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). This video discusses the limitations of one-size-fits-all classroom, and addresses the 3 principles of UDL, which is a framework that accommodates all learners. UDL is a framework that focuses on the importance of choice in education. (AHEAD, 2017).

Users can demonstrate their knowledge through interactive features such as quizzes, polls, and open-ended questions. Creators can make their own interactive creations to express their understanding and creativity, choosing from a variety of templates or starting from a blank presentation and incorporating different interactive features like videos and animations.

Action & Expression

Genially is a content creating platform with interactive elements that is visually appealing with its various formats, such as presentations and infographics. It features animations and collaborative capabilities to engage users in social constructivism, fostering collective learning and creativity on projects.



(Logowik, 2024)

Genially supports various formats to present information to cater to diverse learning preferences. For instance, creations can include voice recordings, images, videos and text for students to learn from.

Canvas offers diverse assignment submission methods, including URL links, PDFs, and image uploads, alongside collaboration features like discussion forums and inbox messaging to foster communication and teamwork.

Action & Expression

Canvas enables personalized learning paths, allowing individuals to progress at their own pace and unlock modules upon task completion. It incorporates engaging multimedia, offers group communication with messaging, and organizes content into modules with specific sections for enhanced navigation.



(Moraine Valley Center for Teaching and Learning, 2024)

Canvas supports multimedia formats, such as images, quizzes, discussions, and assignments, and ensures accessibility across various devices including laptops and smartphones, with features like high contrast settings, automatic closed captions, and a read-aloud option.

A video describing the multiple means of engagement, the "why" of learning (Universal Design for Learning, 2021b).

Zoom allows users to share files, personalize their virtual backgrounds, and express themselves through both audio, text and visual cues with their cameras, keyboards and microphones.

Action & Expression

Zoom keeps users engaged by offering polls with immediate feedback, opportunities for breakout rooms, the ability to react with emojis, and the option to digitally raise your hand. These features allow for a seamless interaction among learners, and between students and educators.



(Stas111, n.d.)

Zoom promotes face-to-face communication through videos, visual aids via screen sharing, collaborative brainstorming with a virtual whiteboard, real-time communication and feedback through chat, and it supports closed captioning for accessibility needs. These outlets allow students to take in information in ways that best suit them.

Padlet supports action and expression through customizable tools, enabling users to create content with multimedia and in different formats, such as grid view or timelines. It also permits users to post ideas anonymously to give students a sense of confidence when exchanging ideas, reducing anxiety and increasing participation.

Action & Expression

Padlet fosters collaborative learning by enabling users to post content simultaneously, creating a dynamic and real-time learning environment. Learners can use the platform to brainstorm, facilitate discussions and work on group projects in multiple formats, and give feedback through hearts, promoting engagement in their active learning.



(Padlet, 2021)

"Padlet offers diverse media integration, including text, images, videos, audio, drawings, and documents, accommodating various learning preferences. Users can customize their boards with these elements for engaging and accessible content presentation, while customizable appearance options enhance visual representation to suit audience needs" (OpenAI, 2024).