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Hi! I have been thinking about ways to explain the use of the UDL Guidelines in the curriculum design and evaluation process. I have been working on some educative images that recognize that:

  • applying UDL is a learning process;
  • and for many re-mixing existing curriculum may be a more reasonable starting point than beginning with a brand new up-front design.

Let's take a look at two visual diagrams that try to reflect these ideas:

Using the UDL Guidelines to Inform Curricular Decision-Making

A circular cycle of curriculum design and evaluation going from design, teaching, to assess and reflect, and back to design. The use of the UDL Guidelines is indicated at the design and reflect stages.

The first diagram shows a circular cycle of curriculum design and evaluation. The cycle goes from the design of curriculum, to the teaching of curriculum, to the assessment of student work and a reflection on curricular effectiveness, and then back to design. The logo of the UDL checklist indicates when the UDL Guidelines may be most useful in guiding decision-making-- at the design and reflection stages.

Using the UDL Checkpoints you can review the multiple, flexible options for Representation, Action and Expression, and Engagement. Each successive round should help to identify and remove curricular barriers, as well as broaden the teaching and learning options that are made available to all learners. This ongoing curriculum design and evaluation cycle is central to the process of addressing predictable learning variability, and reliably applying UDL to practice.

Make Your Curriculum More Universally Designed for Learning


The second diagram shows another representation of how to review curriculum using the UDL framework.  The curricular elements are presented in "backwards design" order-- from the desired results of the goals, to the acceptable assessment evidence of criteria and tasks, to the learning plan of options for methods and materials.

Two agents or coaches comment on these elements from a UDL perspective. The orange coded curricular elements of goals and assessment criteria are "similar for everyone." The purple coded elements of assessment tasks, methods, and materials can be "flexible and varied." Directional arrows from the curricular elements then point to a checklist of things to consider from a UDL perspective. Most of these checklist items are drawn from the UDL Guidelines and made explicit as criteria to consider.

Goals: Since the brain is goal-directed, clarify goals and make them salient. Allow for flexibility by NOT embedding the means for meeting a goal in the goal description.

Assessment: Make sure the assessment criteria and tasks are aligned with the goal. Do not embed the means for meeting the goal in the criteria to allow flexibility in options for demonstrating understanding, knowledge, and skills. Likewise, make sure that the assessment is construct relevant. In other words, make sure the assessment is assessing what you want to assess and not something else. This is often where barriers can be identified. When designing assessments for your curriculum be sure to have opportunities to monitor progress and provide formative feedback towards expertise and mastery.

Methods and Materials: The UDL Guidelines are most useful for reviewing and generating options for the curricular methods and materials.

Now go forth with your UDL Guidelines and make the world more universally designed for learning!


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