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What is Universal Design for Learning? (UDL)

According to the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), Universal Design for Learning is an educational approach with three primary principles:

  • Multiple means of representation, to give diverse learners options for acquiring information and knowledge, (the “what” of learning)
  • Multiple means of action and expression, to provide learners options for demonstrating what they know, (the “how” of learning)
  • Multiple means of engagement, to tap into learners’ interests, offer appropriate challenges, and increase motivation (the “why” of learning)

representation    |     expression    |     engagement

(click the image to enlarge)

Watch the following CAST video for an overview of the UDL Guidelines:

Framing my ePortfolio

I have chosen to structure my eP around the instructional design model of Universal Design for Learning (UDL).  My interest in this area stems from studying UDL for the past three years with my employer, the Calgary Board of Education (CBE).  Throughout the MET program, when presented with different assignments, I would endeavor to integrate my study of UDL in order to best reflect on what I was learning in a practical way that facilitated moving my teaching practice forward.  For example, in ETEC 510, I authored a page on UDL for my major entry in the Design Wiki.  Because UDL had such an incredible influence on my learning in MET and my teaching, it is only fitting that my ePortfolio is organized and framed around this instructional design model.  When you are ready, proceed to the following pages for an overview of the guidelines of UDL:

representation    |     expression    |     engagement


On each page, you will find links to many of the artifacts I created during my time as a MET student.  I have grouped these artifacts into one or more of the UDL Guideline categories in order to best describe the educational technology tools that I either used in the creation of the artifact or presented and discussed as part of the project or research paper and to demonstrate the relationship between UDL and educational technology.

This being said, it should be noted that using educational technology is not the only way to implement UDL.  The goal of UDL is to create flexible environments where every student can be successful, whether that be a technology rich context or not.  The bottom line is that using technology in the classroom does not automatically equate to UDL; rather, technology plays a valuable role in the implementation of UDL. Educators work towards flexibility by identifying and removing barriers from their teaching methods and curriculum materials.  Implementing the three UDL principles with new media can help educators improve how they set goals, personalize instruction, and assess student progress. (Rose & Meyer, 2002)

UDL Resources:


CAST website:

CAST YouTube Channel:

National Center On Universal Design for Learning:



CAST (2011). Universal design for learning guidelines version 2.0. Wakefi­eld, MA: Author.  Retrieved from

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 (ASCD). Retrieved from 


representation    |     expression    |     engagement