Universal Design for Learning
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a set of principles to develop learning environments that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn.
UDL proposes not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather a set of flexible scaffolds and supports that can meet individual needs. Individual learners are very different from one another and may require different methods and means to reach a common goal. These differences -both seen and unseen, may be shaped by brain development learned and innate skills, cultural and social experience, and a host of other factors.
The UDL framework encourages creating flexible designs from the start that have customizable options, which allow all learners to progress in the curriculum. The options for accomplishing this are varied and robust enough to provide effective instruction to all learners.
The NH Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education has contracted with CAST: Center for Applied Special Education Technology to provide New Hampshire educators with professional customized learning opportunities that build capacity in the implementation and roll out of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as a systemic framework for educational decision-making.
The CAST Professional Learning team provides a formula for successful UDL implementation that clearly defines goals, ongoing measures of progress relative to the goals, and flexible methods and resources that support the five phases of implementation (Explore, Prepare, Integrate, Scale, and Optimize). Now in year five, the New Hampshire Universal Design for Learning (NH UDL) Innovation Network includes 70 schools and 500 educators who have dedicated their time to learning about UDL, trying out UDL in practice, reflecting about their application of UDL, and working collaboratively in teams that identify and address common needs and actions. These educators have been empowered to leverage a UDL approach to supporting their learning as designers and learners themselves in order to empower all learners within their schools.