Universal Design for Learning: What It Is & Key Principles
Read Time 4 mins |
Written by: Carissa Wong
Universal design can be found in services, products, and environments. It is most commonly found in products such as wheelchair accessible MRT gantries and stairs with slopes that are widely used by all kinds of people.
As its name suggests, universal design is when you design a product to make it accessible to everyone.
When it comes toeducation, universal design for learning plays a key role in providing an equal opportunity for all students to learn and succeed.
What Is Universal Design for Learning?
With society’s current focus onpersonalised learning, universal design for learning may sound counterintuitive. After all, how can you teach all students using a generic teaching method?
However, that is not what universal design for learning is about.
Rather than using just one method to educate all learners, universal design for learning aims to use a plethora of styles and techniques to breach the learning gap for all learners.
By introducing new teaching methods to your students, there will be more flexibility in learning to help meet their individual strengths, weaknesses, and needs.
In Singapore, Universal design for learning is found in theMinistry of Education’s Students Learning Space portal. The portal was launched as an initiative to transform the learning experiences students have in Singapore by providing equal access to resources and exposure to different learning modes.
Key Principles and Guidelines of Universal Design for Learning
In universal design, there are seven principles:
1. Equitable use:
The design should be useful to and usable by people of diverse abilities.
2. Flexibility in use:
The design should accommodate a vast range of preferences and abilities.
3. Simple and intuitive use:
The design should be easy to understand and use, regardless of the user's existing experience, knowledge, language skills, or concentration level.
4. Perceptible information:
The design should be easy to understand, regardless of the user’s environment or sensory abilities.
5. Tolerance for error:
The design should have minimal hazards and consequences from accidental user actions.
6. Low physical effort:
The design should allow for efficient and comfortable use that does not tire the user.
7. Size and space for approach and use:
The design should be appropriately sized and spaced for the intended approach and use, regardless of the user's shape, size, posture, or mobility.
When it comes to universal design for learning, it boils down to three key principles:
Meet Carissa. She regularly writes for Noodle Factory, covering a breadth of EdTech, AI and technology topics. You'll often find her underwater, on a yoga mat, or in a new restaurant. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.