Universal Design for Learning Literature Review

Reflection and References


Retreived on 07-Aug-2008 from

My conclusion for my UDL literature review is given here:

Both CEC (2005) and Kleiman (2004) advocate implementation of UDL as did all authors in this literature review.  Even though opponents to UDL were sought, none were found.  The answer to the third question, "Are there any opponents to UDL?  If so, are their concerns legitimate or might they be motivated to maintain the status quo?" is no.  UDL makes sense because it proactively uses current Information Age knowledge and technology, rather than reactively using Industrial Age assumptions and practices. 

The second question, "Is there any current evidence to suggest that instructional designers who deliberately or intuitively use UDL for their online course development meet diverse learning needs?" provided primarily anecdotal evidence of the effectiveness of UDL.  Although there are many educational issues requiring research, it would be wise to focus on UDL because it has the potential to eliminate some issues as it asks how might Robin and Brook succeed rather than why did they fail. 

As for the first research question, "What has UDL learned from brain research and how does this apply to designing curricula to meet diverse learning needs?" a helpful approach would be to compare the current school system and UDL to Western and Chinese medicine.  Western medicine, like the current school system, reactively waits for the symptoms to show up and then implements potentially harmful interventions.  The emotional costs of this practice are incredibly high for the learning community.  Everyone, learners, family, educators, and administrators, experience the pain of failure.  The financial costs are also incredibly high as the funding invested in special education of individuals could easily be redirected to meeting the needs of all.

UDL is like Chinese medicine.  It sees all learners as able-minded and recognizes that each mind has unique learning needs.  When these needs are met, the learner's affective, recognition, and strategic networks interact as they apply understanding and practice skills.  Everyone, learners, family, educators, and administrators, experience the rewards of success.  UDL facilitates learning by meeting diverse learning needs through technology. Once digitized, content can be transformed rapidly into a variety of formats and understanding can be expressed in a variety of formats.  By allowing learners multiple formats, the content becomes more engaging.  Online educators, by considering the needs of the disabled, have an inherent ability to use technology to apply UDL principles to minimize retrofitting for individuals and maximize learning for everyone.

Again, I ask, where do you want to put your time and energy? In proactively preparing accessible curricula for everyone, or reactively developing education plans for individuals?

Thank you for your consideration.


Overview | Research | Effectiveness | Proponents | Reflection