5 Tips for Designing Inclusive Curriculum Using Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

By Don Glass, Ph.D.

Use UDL Guidelines in the design and assessment phases of your development cycles

UDL Design and Evaluation Cycle

1. Design for variability. Because we know that people are diverse in how they learn, we need to design inclusive curriculum that has similar goals for everyone, but provides multiple entry ways, modalities, and pathways for learning.
Universal Design for Learning Explained with LEGO®

2. Set clear, meaningful goals. Our goal-directed brains prefer clear, explicit learning goals. Base these goals on the National Core Arts Standards, communicate them using accessible language, break them down into manageable sub-goals, and make them relevant and meaningful to the personal interests and goals of students.

3. Uncouple means from goals to allow for flexibility. When writing learning goals, be sure to uncouple the goal from any specific means for achieving that goal. For example, if you want a student to respond to a work of art, do not specify in the goal statement that students should do so by only writing a report. Keeping the means out of the goal statement provides space to be more flexible and varied in the ways that students can choose to demonstrate their responses through writing, speaking, diagramming, art-making, digital annotation, etc.

Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work by writing a 3-5 page analysis paper.
Limiting: Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work by writing a 3-5 page analysis paper.
Flexible: Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.

4. Use the UDL Guidelines in ongoing design and evaluation. Use the UDL Guidelines to design and review your learning activities, materials, and resources to make sure they provide multiple, flexible options to engage students, present content in varied ways, and demonstrate understanding, knowledge, and skills. Better yet, use the UDL Guidelines in your professional learning communities and IEP meetings to take advantage of other professional expertise!

5. Elicit expert user feedback. Gather student work, learning evidence, observations, and feedback from students to understand what works for whom under what conditions. Use that knowledge to expand options and supports for everyone.

“As in any revolution, students in the margins are likely to lead the way, precipitating the shifts in thinking that will open vast opportunities for educational reform. They have much to offer in this enterprise; we all have much to gain.”     (Meyer and Rose, 2005, p.15)

A photo of Don Glass

Don Glass

Don Glass, PhD is a DC-based visual artist, learning designer, and developmental evaluator. His work focuses on the integration of inclusive arts curriculum design and developmental evaluation strategies into the ongoing professional development of educators in and outside of schools. He started this work at VSA and was a OSEP-funded UDL Leadership Fellow at Boston College/CAST. UDL Connect/Arts and UDL.

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