Module 1 – Overview



This module provides an overview of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). In this module, you will learn about the origins of UDL, its core principles and its relevance for today’s diverse classrooms. With personalized learning and student-centred education emerging as best practices, UDL offers a way for educators to meet diverse learning needs by rethinking curriculum design.

At the completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • describe the origins of Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
  • identify and describe the three core principles of UDL
  • describe why UDL matters in today’s classrooms
  • identify the benefits of Universal Design for Learning.

Essential Questions

  • Is it possible to support the diverse needs of each student in your classroom?
  • What does meaningfully and respectfully including all students look like?
  • What role should you play in your students’ learning experiences?



UDL Overview

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework for designing and delivering curriculum that enables each student to gain knowledge, skills and enthusiasm for learning. UDL embraces the concept of improved access for students in order to extend and enhance their learning.


UDL Core Principles and the Brain

Universal Design for Learning supports current research on how our brains learn. Its core principles address the ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ of learning.



Teams of teachers around British Columbia have been implementing and enjoying the benefits of implenting UDL in their classrooms. In the last decade, the BC Ministry of Education has supported several UDL initiatives around the province resulting in inspirational models which highlight best teaching practices.


  • In thinking about the diverse needs of students in the classroom, what strategies are you already using in your classroom that fit within a UDL framework?
  • What might be some potential benefits for you and your students when implementing UDL strategies in your classroom?
  • What might be some of your concerns when beginning to implement UDL strategies in your classroom?

Dig Deeper


CAST: Center for Applied Special Technology is an educational research centre in the United States that is credited with founding the movement for Universal Design for Learning in education.


The One:
BC educator Kristen Wiens has produced an excellent 5-minute video Introduction to UDL.

The Rest:

The CAST website. View free UDL tools, explore current initiatives, or create a free account to read the e-book version of Universal Design for Learning: Theory and Practice, CAST’s 2014 book on UDL.

The National Center for Universal Design for Learning website. Explore the UDL Guidelines in detail or view From Bach to Lady Gaga, David Rose’s inspiring introduction to UDL. Scroll to the bottom to watch the video in smaller chunks. Note the UDL supports built into the presentation.

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