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March 2014
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TTAC Region 4 at GMU
A news brief linking people and resources to support quality practices in the education of all students
For the 2013-14 school year, we have updated the format of our TTAC newsletter. All subscribers will now receive a news brief of information and resources via email once a month from September through May, excluding December. Each news brief will highlight a key topic in education related to supporting the learning needs of all students.
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Universal Design for Learning (UDL) creates a climate of success for all students. It is a set of principles that guide the design of inclusive classroom instruction and accessible course material. Tracing its origins from the Universal Design (UD) movement, the goal of UDL is the elimination of barriers from the learning environment and providing options and access for everyone.


Be ready to make instruction and learning accessible for all by applying the principles of UDL from the beginning, as you plan, rather than adding on later, by:

  • Taking a quick video “tour”: UDL at a Glance
  • Reviewing the three principles of UDL:
    • Multiple methods of representation: to increase knowledgze - the what of learning
       » Present information and content in different ways

    • Multiple means of action and expression: to expand strategic abilities - the how of learning
       » Differentiate the ways that students can express what they know

    • ➢ Multiple means of engagement: to enhance involvement – the why of learningg
       » Stimulate interest and motivation for learning

(CAST, 2011)


Set clear instructional goals incorporating UDL while developing lessons.

  • Think about how information is presented to learners.
    • Does the information provide options that help all learners:
    • Reach higher levels of comprehension and understanding? Understand the symbols and expressions? Perceive what needs to be learned?
      » e.g., Provide advanced organizers such as concept maps; Use Text-to-Speech; Pre-teach vocabulary; Provide explicit prompts for each step in a sequential process
  • Think about how learners are expected to act strategically and express themselves.
    • Does the activity provide options that help all learners:
    • Plan and organize purposefully? Express themselves fluently? Physically respond?
      »   e.g.,  Provide checklists and project planning templates; Provide multiple examples of novel solutions to problems; Utilize multiple media; Provide alternatives in requirements for rate, timing, speed & range of motor action required
  • Think about how learners will engage with the lesson.
    • Does the lesson provide options that help all learners:
    • Regulate their own learning? Sustain effort and motivation? Engage and interest all learners?
      »   e.g., Offer devices, aids or charts to assist individuals in learning to collect, chart and display data from their own behavior; Involve learners, where and whenever possible, in setting their own goals

(CAST, 2011; Meyer & Rose, 2002; Meyer, Rose & Gordon, 2013)


UDL is about providing options. “Alternatives reduce barriers to learning for students with disabilities while enhancing leaning for everyone.” (Access Project, 2012) For more information and resources, go to:

  • Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST ) Universal Design for Learning - a nonprofit research and development organization that works to expand learning opportunities for all individuals through Universal Design for Learning
  • National Center on Universal Design for Learning – learn the basics, find research & discover resources (including UDL Guidelines, articles, books, presentations and videos).
  • Check out the Universal Design for Learning: Creating a Learning Environment that Challenges and Engages All Students online module from the Iris Center. It examines the three principles of UDL and discusses how to apply these principles to goals, instructional materials, instructional methods and assessments.
  • A Free Technology Toolkit for UDL in All Classroom provides a wealth of technology resources for teachers interested in implementing UDL into their classrooms including literacy tools, graphic organizers, math tools, study skill tools and more.
  • CAST Learning Tools includes a variety of resources such as UDL Book Builder, UDL Curriculum Self-Check, UDL Lesson Builder, and more. Free access with log-in required.

ACCESS Project, Colorado State University. (2012). UDL: A Concise Introduction.

CAST (2011). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.0. Wakefield, MA: Author.

Meyer, A., & Rose, D.H (2002). Teaching every student in the digital age: universal design for learning. MA: Harvard Education Press.
[online version:]

Meyer, A., Rose, D.H., & Gordon, D. (2013). Universal design for leaning: theory and practice. MA: Cast Incorporated.
[online version: ]

UDL at a Glance –YouTube video created by CAST which illustrates the three principles of UDL

This news brief is a collaborative effort of the Virginia Department of Education Training and Technical Assistance Centers at George Mason University and James Madison University. This issue was prepared by the staff of the VDOE TTAC at George Mason University. For questions about the content, please contact Soojin Jang at or Judy Stockton at or 703-993-4496.
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Phone: 703.993.4496
Fax: 703.993.4497
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