Universal Design for Instruction and Learning


Universal Design, in a nutshell, means designing an environment that is universally ideal for everyone (as opposed to just certain individuals, such as those with disabilities).
Examples of universal design solutions that benefit everyone include:

  • elevators
  • sliding glass doors
  • curb cuts where sidewalks abut intersections
  • closed captioning on video screens (especially in places like restaurants or airports).

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Universal Design for Instruction (UDI) are frameworks that are devised to optimize teaching and learning for diverse groups of students based on scientific insights into how people learn best. Research has found that successful classes are those which employ the 3 tenents of Universal Design: multiple modes of presenting information, multiple ways to actively engage students, and multiple means of assessing knowledge. UDL’s goal is to maximize access for all diverse learners and to minimize the need for individual adaptations or accommodations. 

This website provides information about UDL in Higher Education, and here's an explanatory video series that addresses "What is Universal Design for Learning?"

These resources were created by Marni Jones created for Dickinson faculty:

And here are additional UD resources:

There is an abundance of helpful guidance from colleges and universities across the US that are successfully incorporating UDL/UDI in their curricula. Here are two great examples:

This page is managed by Marni Jones, who is available to provide guidance on Universal Design. 
If you have any questions or suggestions, please email her at jonesmar@dickinson.edu