UDL (Universal Design for Learning) Design Cycle

UDL for Learning in Higher Education


Clicking on the image above will take you to pictured downloadable resource (pdf) from the Taylor Institute, University of Calgary.

"How Designing Accessible Curriculum for All Can Help Make Online Learning More Equitable" (post) introduces UDL, contains helpful videos, and outlines a key strategy for effective implementation of UDL ("Start Small and Iterate") based on the "Universal Design Cycle."

  • "The prospect of integrating UDL for the first time can be daunting."
  • "[A] gradual approach" allows "educators to ease into it according to their level of comfort." 

1. "Designing for Success: Start Small and Iterate"

a. “When people first look at the guidelines, they see the 31 checkpoints and sometimes feel overwhelmed thinking that they are supposed to implement all of them in every lesson.” Instead ...

  • "[T]hink about what [specific] barriers [you] want to reduce" in one specific course.
  • "[T]hen look at the guidelines like a menu that [you] can choose from to meet [your] needs."

b. "[S]tart small."

  • "As [you] successfully use UDL, [you] can ... build in more ... supports in subsequent lessons."
  • "[I]f [you] try to do everything at once, [you] may feel overwhelmed and give up."

c. "The more you use UDL, the more these ideas will naturally come to you as you are designing lessons."

  • "[I]t will become easier to redesign or revise curriculum and instruction little by little.”
  • "[D]eveloping a UDL curriculum is an iterative cycle of implementation, reflection, and adjustment, and it can be integrated during the lesson planning process."

2. Using the UDL Design Cycle: "[A] systematic step-by-step process"

  • "[S]tart with your goals."
  • "[C]onsider barriers and students’ preferences/needs."
  • "[D]evelop assessments and methods that can reduce barriers and take students’ preferences into account." 

3. Universal Design Cycle (pdf)

UDL Design Cycle: Step One - Identify Goals, Step Two - Identify Barriers,Step 3 - Develop Assessments, Step 4 - Develop Flexible Methods & Materials, Step 5 - Implement, Step 6 - Reflect & Revise


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