Universal Design for Learning: Deeper Dive 2
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Universal Design for Learning: Deeper Dive 2

Taking a closer look at providing options for language, mathematical expression, and symbols.

Universal Design for Learning: Deeper Dive 2
Aurora Burst

Next steps into taking a deeper dive into Universal Design for Learning and deconstructing them by guideline! Starting with the base knowledge that Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework for designing and delivering instruction based on the three networks of the brain associated with learning:

1. The Recognition Network or the What of learning

2. The Strategic Network or the How of learning

3. The Affective Network or the Why of learning (CAST 20012)

The three broad networks support the three principles of UDL (I) Provide multiple means of representation; (II) provide multiple means of action and expression; and (III) provide multiple means of engagement” (Rose & Meyer, 2002) and the subsequent nine guidelines (diagram below).

We previously looked at the principle of representation and then narrowed our focus on guideline one: options for perception (please see previous article: Universal Design for Learning: Taking a Deeper Dive. We are going to build on that understanding and move to a more acute understanding of guideline two, provide options for language, mathematical expression, and symbols.

Now let's zero in on it! (below).

With guideline two, we are moving from perception (to see, hear, or become aware of) to decoding. Therefore, options for language, mathematical expression, and symbols could also be defined as options to decode language, math, and symbols.

Let's deconstruct this guideline more deeply by the what, how, and why.

What: Options for language, mathematical, symbols or decoding would generally refer to words, symbols, numbers, icons, and all of the content and skills that these pieces of information create when combined. Within the context of the learning environment, barriers can exist that prevent students from decoding and comprehending. Examples could be: the information is not in the student's first language, the information or vocabulary requires more content knowledge, or the author's style. Alongside a multitude of barriers in the curriculum and learning environment there is also variability represented by students: hearing impairment, poor vision, lack of background knowledge, limited word recognition to name a few. How do we address both the barriers and the variability?

How: By intentionally attending to students' needs for vocabulary and text to be clarified, syntax and structure clarified, support and scaffolding for the decoding of text, mathematical notation, and symbols, understanding across languages, and illustrations through multimedia.

How can we do this? By employing the checkpoints to guide and design instruction. Some examples according to Novak are:

"preteaching vocabulary and math symbols in student-friendly language, pointing out text structures (like compare/contrast), sentence structure, or math formulas if they are important for learning, providing scaffolding when reading to bring student attention to most important content, if English is a second language for students then offer the instructions in their home language, simplify complicated directions to make students friendly, and always offer visuals like charts, pictures, movies, audio clips, and things for students to touch and manipulate" (p. 22).

Why: If we provide representations "one way", some students will not have access to understanding and comprehension. Multiple means of representation is much more than just showing students information in lots of ways. According to Lord Nelson:

"representation introduces us to ways we can provide students access to ideas, concepts, and themes present within text-based information. At the same time, we can provide support for decoding that information. When students can gain comprehension while working on their decoding, they can move more rapidly toward grasping meaning and then owning the information to use in other contexts or in other situations" (p.62).

In other words, we are doing more that "teaching" content or a skill. We are providing a learning environment minimizing obstacles and barriers to learning that allow students to be knowledgeable and resourceful. Students literally learn how to learn, own what they learn, and take it to other learning experiences. According to Lord Nelson, "being able to take information from one situation and transfer it to another demonstrates a deeper understanding of the information" (p.66).

CAST, Inc. (2012) Retrieved from: http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/whatisudl

Meyer, A., Rose, H. D., Gordon, D. (2014). Universal design for learning, theory and practice. Wakefield, MA: CAST Professional Publishing.

Lord Nelson, Loui. (2014) Design and Deliver: Planning and Teaching Using Universal Design for Learning. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.

Novak, Katie. (2014)) UDL Now. Wakefield, MA: CAST Publishing.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

This Simple 7-Step DIY Face Mask Combines Safety — And Sustainability

Instead of studying like I intended on doing today, I made a face mask for some reason and thought I'd share how I did.


If you were looking for a simple way to make a mask, I am happy to share how I personally make them. I have a pretty small face in general, so I prefer having my homemade ones so they fit better. This is also a great alternative to just throwing away any clothes! Before starting, you will need to make sure you have fabric, thread, a needle, and pins; if you have a sewing machine, you obviously could use that instead of hand sewing it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

6 Ways To Handle The Stress Of Earning Your Degree From Your Childhood Bedroom

Oh so this was the room where I snuck cookies upstairs past my bedtime and stole R-Rated movies to watch when my parents were asleep and now I'm expected to earn my degree in this very same room?

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

It's definitely not easy, but it's something so many kids are struggling with right now.

Keep Reading... Show less

November is such an underrated month. With all the excitement that comes with Halloween ending and the holiday season around the corner, some people skip over it and go straight to their Christmas playlist. For me though, November is the perfect time to compile a playlist of songs that bring on major nostalgia which I think is perfect for this time of year. If you're looking for something to get you in that thankful spirit before you head into the Christmas spirit or something to play while you enjoy Friendsgiving, here are some go-to songs to add to your November playlist.

Keep Reading... Show less

Taylor Swift is famous for her Easter eggs on social media that hint at what is coming next for her. Over the past few days, fans noticed a change in Swift's hair when she was accepting her win as Apple's songwriter of the year that was reminiscent of the "Red" era. Of course, this has caused widespread speculation that Swift has begun to re-record her masters.

Keep Reading... Show less

While joyful, the holiday season can also be stressful for many and that's A-O.K. Plus, with the added tension that is 2020, this year's holiday season is a lot, to put it simply.

This is your reminder to put yourself first and listen to what you're yearning for. Deep down, you know what you need to thrive and I know that you can get there.

Keep Reading... Show less

25 'Open When' Topics And Ideas For That Special Someone In Your Life

Open When Letters are letters you can give to your special someone.

Lauren McCally

Stuck on what to get the person you love the most?

And, well, let's be honest, is hard to shop for? Well then, why not send them some Open When Letters?

Keep Reading... Show less

My obsession with country music is easily one of my best personality traits.

I've grown up on country music, and it's always been a huge part of my life. I remember the day that my mom bought me my first country CD. Since that day, I've been hooked. I still watch the Country Music Awards faithfully each year. My fun fact for syllabus week is almost always related to my love of country music.

Keep Reading... Show less

Meet My Cat, Neville, Who Lives In Pennsylvania

Neville is just under two years old and is the snuggliest kitten you will ever met.


Neville is a Balinese cat I've had since he was 14 weeks old. He loves being carried around and spoiled. But most importantly, he loves nose boops.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments