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Distance Education

Universal Design for Learning

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Distance Education

Wayne Hall
6th Floor
125 W. Rosedale Ave.
West Chester, PA 19383

Phone: 610-436-2948
Fax: 610-436-2189

Distance Education Support
Phone: 610-436-3373

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)



The universal design approach is to create products and/or environments that are designed, from the outset, to accommodate individuals with a wider range of abilities and disabilities than can be accommodated by traditional applications. With UDL, technology is used to create curriculum and environments that, by design, lack traditional barriers to learning. For example, multimedia curriculum provides digital, universally designed media that offers diverse options for viewing and manipulating content and expressing knowledge. Within UDL, fewer students face barriers to learning, for example; text to speech reduces decoding barriers for students with dyslexia; digital images and video with closed captioning provides alternative representations reducing barriers for students with language-based disabilities and for students who are blind or deaf; and keyboard alternatives may reduce barriers in navigation and control for students with physical disabilities. These UDL solutions have the advantage of enhancing learning for many different kinds of students. 

Instructional Uses:

  • Flexible Digital Materials/Multimedia
  •  Modified Text 
  • Text-to-Speech 
  • Manipulatives 
  • Virtual Reality/Simulations 
  • Concept Maps 
  • Models

WCU Supported Tools:

Additional Tools:

Tips for using Universal Design for Learning:

  • Present information in at least two formats. 
  • Give students as many resources as possible. 
  • Provide lots of background information — but be brief. 
  • Build in flexibility, creating multiple ways for students to demonstrate their knowledge. 
  • Provide clear syllabus and rubrics, less is more — do not overwhelm syllabus with details. 
  • Promoting interaction among and between faculty and students. 
  • Provide as much consistent and organized use of LMS as possible. 
  • Make sure all electronic resources, including web pages, images and videos; adhere to accessibility guidelines or standards.


Rose, D.H., & Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching every student in the digital age: Universal Design for Learning. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. 

Hitchcock, C., Stahl, S. (2003). Assistive Technology, Universal Design, Universal Design for Learning: Improved Learning Opportunities. Journal of Special Education Technology.  

Burgstahler, S. E. (n.d.). Universal Design in Higher Education: Promising Practices. doi: Design in Higher Education_Promising Practices_0.pdf 

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