Universal Design for Learning: Deeper Dive 4
Start writing a post
Student Life

Universal Design for Learning: Deeper Dive 4

Taking a closer look at providing options for physical action.

Universal Design for Learning: Deeper Dive 4

Of the three networks of the brain associated with learning, we are ready to take a closer look at the Strategic Network, the principle of Action and Expression or the How of Learning! We previously looked at the overarching 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 and guideline 2: options for language, mathematical expressions, and symbols (previous article): Universal Design for Learning: Taking a Deeper Dive 2. We wrapped up the principle of representation looking acutely at guideline 3: options for comprehension (in the article) Universal Design for Learning: Deeper Dive 3.

Quick Recap about UDL: 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 are going to move to the principle of action and expression (or the strategic networks of the brain) and build on that understanding as we move to a more acute understanding of guideline four: provide options for physical action.

As it would suggest, the strategic networks of the brain allow individuals “to plan, execute, and monitor all kinds of purposeful acts in (their) environment” (Meyer, Rose, & Gordon p.74). While we are honing in on the strategic network it is important to note that it does not work in isolation. The recognition and affective networks are very much involved in any learning task demanded in the learning environment. Therefore, the strategic network “helps us strategize every physical and mental process” (Lord Nelson p.14) associated with tasks we perform. When we ask students to “act” on or “express” either content or skill, we must be aware of the demands on these networks.

Let’s zero in on our first of three guidelines under the principle of action and expression: guideline 4: options for physical action (below).

What: Options for physical action simply put are options to do, move, and navigate. This guideline is about understanding the motor demands to navigate instructional materials, physical manipulatives, technologies, and the physical environment. When designing the curriculum and learning environment, one can attend to barriers in the learning environment while taking learner variability into account.

How: By intentionally attending to barriers to learning and addressing learner variability, educators can “design” and provide learning experiences by:

Additionally, some questions to ask when we plan and design are:

  • What options exist to allow students to navigate material and show what they know in multiple ways?
  • Are there multiple methods for response?
  • Have I provided training with tools (no, low, high tech)?
  • Have I considered alternative to pencil/paper?

Why: Instructional tools, navigation of the tools, and training of the tools are all demands on learning. When we address the principle of action and expression, it is very important to note that we can imbed the means in the learning goal. Thus, we place demands on a student that does not provide the student with a learning environment that allows them to adequately interact upon or express what they know. At its core, learning is about creating, exploring, interacting. Students need the challenge to be on the learning outcome, not the means by which they get there!

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.

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

Ten Duo Halloween Costume Ideas

Whether it be with your boyfriend/girlfriend or best friend, coming up with a group costume can be hard.


Let's face it. We've all, at one point or another, have struggled with finding a perfect group costume. I've come up with 10 duo costume ideas for halloween this year.

Keep Reading... Show less

Haunted Houses For Halloween In New Jersey

The Top Scariest Haunted Houses In New Jersey


Residing in New Jersey enables you to participate in various activities, and everyone has a favorite. In New Jersey, Halloween is also celebrated in a spooky way. There are many scariest haunted houses in NJ to celebrate Halloween. If you want to confront your greatest fears, Halloween Scariest haunted houses are ideal.

Keep Reading... Show less

Leaving My Backpack In The Library

Views about society and the stranger sitting right across from me


As a college student, my backpack is an extension of myself in many ways. It contains my notes, pens, and computer vital for my success in college. It contains the snacks and water bottle I need to survive long days on campus. It also contains the "in-case" items that help put my mind at rest if I forgot something from home: extra hair ties, masks, and that backup-backup snack. With so much in my backpack important to me and my life on campus, it is no wonder that I can get apprehensive about it when it is not with me or in my line of sight. And that makes me wonder.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Cool Gadgets To Make Your Car Smart

Don't let this stop you from making your car smart. You can change the one you have using smart gadgets that transform your car into a smart car.


Cars are no longer just a mode of transport, where you only worry about the engine and how beautiful its interior is. These days, everyone wants to make their cars smarter, those with advanced technology systems. It makes sense for several reasons. It can make your vehicle more efficient and safer when you need to drive.

Keep Reading... Show less

The Inevitable Truth of Loss

You're going to be okay.


As we humans face loss and grief on a daily basis, it's challenging to see the good in all the change. Here's a better perspective on how we can deal with this inevitable feeling and why it could help us grow.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments