The following is a brief discussion concerning Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and its role within LDI.  Reference and resource information is provided at the end in citations.  Please do not hesitate to contact LDI to obtain various articles and documentation regarding UDL.

UDL derived in the education community from the ideas and principles of Universal Design (UD).  UDL comes to the forefront among other like models due to its “foundation in cognitive neuroscience and its codification in federal law (Higher Education Opportunity Act, 2008)” (Davies, Schelly, Spooner, 2013, p. 196).  Davies et. al continue that UDL may be most effective with students with disabilities, as it offers multiple mediums for obtaining data and comprehension, provides for various forms for students to display what was learned, and differentiation in engagement methodology, which hones in upon student interests and results in motivation and critical thought (Hall, Meyer, and Rose, 2012).

Theoretically, these principles identify proper individualized approaches to education for each person rooted in the variation of presentation, assessment, and student engagement.  However, theory without practice loses its impact and power for all of us who exist in the “real world.”  To this point, LDI has been identifying and continues to identify application of these principles with and for our students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), ADHD, and other learning disabilities.  LDI’s approach to determine strengths and interests along with clearly identified goals and assessments encourage Universal Learning for students.  One example of UDL at LDI is viewable through our usage of Read & Write Gold, wherein students can have material read to them and heard in audio through the software either word by word or in paragraph form.  Further Read & Write Gold offers students the ability to dictate assignments and can even use word prediction to discover the exact word and meaning that is desired to be communicated.

Further, Universal Design for Instruction (UDI) identified 9 principles for instructors that facilitate Universal Learning.  Scott et. al’s article Universal Design for Instruction: A new Paradigm for Adult Instruction in Postsecondary Education (2003) covers this in great detail.  In sum, the principles are as follows:

  1. Equitable use
  2. Flexibility in use
  3. Simple and intuitive
  4. Perceptible information
  5. Tolerance for error
  6. Low physical effort
  7. Appropriate size & space
  8. Community of learners
  9. Instructional climate


Burgstahler, S. (2008). Universal design in higher education. In S. E. Burgstahler & R. C. Cory (Eds.), Universal design in higher education: From principles to practice (pp. 3-20). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.Davies.

Davies, Patricia L., Schelly, Catherine L., & Spooner, Craig L (2003).  Measuring the Effectiveness of Universal Eesign for Learning Intervention in Postsecondary Education.  Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 26(3), p. 195-220.

Hall, T. E., Meyer, A., & Rose, D. H. (2012). An introduction to universal design for learning:

Questions and answers. In T. E. Hall, A. Meyer & D. H. Rose (Eds.), Universal design for learning in the classroom: Practical applications (pp. 1-8). New York: Guilford Press.

Scott, S. S., Mcguire, J. M., & Shaw, S. F. (2003, November/December). Universal Design for Instruction: A New Paradigm for Adult Instruction in Postsecondary Education. Remedial and Special Education, 24(6), 369-379.