In our previous article, we talked about what universal design for learning (UDL) is and explained its key principles.
In this article, we’ll tell you why lecturers should start using universal design for learning ASAP. If you’re already interested in incorporating UDL into your classroom, we also explain how you can do that.
Why Institutions Should Work Towards Universal Design for Learning
Universal design for learning comes in handy because every student has their own needs, learning preferences, devices, and circumstances.
It is widely researched, referenced, and supported as an evidence-based learning method that works.
As a learning and teaching method that aims to cater to all needs, UDL boasts many benefits. Here are just some of the notable ones.
Benefits for classroom:
- Less stigma against slower learners or those with different abilities
- More student diversity
- More accessible learning
- More ways to interact with course material
Benefits for educators:
- More student satisfaction
- Higher course retention rates
- Fewer individual educational adjustments
- Fewer individual alternative assessments
Benefits for students:
- More motivation
- More ability to engage
- Reduced support required
- Reduced need for individual educational adjustments
How to Incorporate Universal Design for Learning Into Your Curriculum:
1. Set clear lesson goals
Before diving deep into course material, lecturers should provide a course outline with clear lesson goals so that students know what to look out for.
With defined goals, learners will be able to pay attention to the information they need most, do extra research for topics they don’t understand and work on specific skills that will help them meet the set goals.
2. Provide different options for assignments
A standardised written test is not the best way to test your students’ understanding because every learner has their own way of expressing themselves and applying concepts.
Instead of using the usual pen and paper test, you can give students the freedom to choose how they submit their assignments.
You can offer different formats such as a written test, video, slideshow presentation, essay, and audio report.
3. Promote a flexible learning environment
Just as there are night owls and early birds, there are students who prefer to work quietly and students who prefer to work in groups.
Lecturers can allow for quiet individual tasks, small group work, and livelier group projects to let students experience various learning environments.
The flexible learning environment lets students move around, get more engaged, and feel less lethargic. Teachers are also able to move from group to group to help those who require assistance.
4. Give students regular feedback
By giving your students regular feedback, they will gain encouragement and motivation to continue learning.
Feedback will also help them understand what they are good at and what they need to work on. By learning what they need to improve on, they can reflect on lesson goals to see whether they’ve reached them or not.
5. Make use of multimedia
Learners have varied needs, and some students may prefer visual or verbal material rather than audio or physical material.
Lecturers can try teaching their curriculum using different tools to cater to students’ needs.
There are many types of learning styles, but the most common are visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and reading or writing. If you keep these in mind while preparing class material, you’ll be on the right track!
The bottom line
So, are you ready to start using universal design for learning in your classroom?