AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability
Creating inclusive environments in education & employment for people with disabilities.


Universal Design Principles

Nine Principles of Universal Design for Instruction (UDI)

  1. Equitable use: Accessing course information, such as syllabi, in a variety formats, including print, disk, and online.
  2. Flexibility in use: Varying instructional methods, including lecture, discussion, and individual and group activities.
  3. Simple and intuitive: Clearly describing course expectations for grading, in different formats, for example narrative and rubrics.
  4. Perceptible information: Using videos that include subtitles, or captioning, for those who may not hear, for whom English is not a first language, or for those who have trouble processing verbal information.
  5. Tolerance for error: Providing ongoing and continual feedback on coursework rather than at specified interim periods, such as mid-term or final exams.
  6. Low physical effort: Providing lecture notes, so students who have difficulty taking notes do not need to take notes.
  7. Size and space for approach and use: Making seating easily accessible, if possible, so everyone can see each other and communicate with one another directly. Circular seating may address this principle.
  8. Community of learners: Creating a variety of learning settings, for example, use of e-mail groups, social networking sites, or chat rooms.
  9. Instructional climate: Including a statement in the syllabus indicating the desire to meet the instructional needs of all students and for students to convey their needs to the instructor.

Three principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

UDL is a complimentary framework for inclusive teaching and learning. It contains the following three key principles:

  1. Principle: Provide Multiple Means of Representation

Guideline 1: Provide options for perception

Guideline 2: Provide options for language, mathematical expressions, and symbols

Guideline 3: Provide options for comprehension

  1. Principle: Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression

Guideline 4: Provide options for physical action

Guideline 5: Provide options for expression and communication

Guideline 6: Provide options for executive functions

  1. Principle: Provide Multiple Means of Engagement

Guideline 7: Provide options for recruiting interest

Guideline 8: Provide options for sustaining effort and persistence

Guideline 9: Provide options for self-regulation

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About the Road Map for Inclusion

'Inclusive Learning and the Provision of Reasonable Accommodations to Students with Disabilities in Higher Education in Ireland' is part of a series of outputs produced by the Association for Higher Education Access and Disability (AHEAD), in collaboration with the Disability Advisers Working Network (DAWN). It brings together two years of research on the inclusion of students with disabilities in higher education and concludes that an inclusive approach based on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles would provide an effective framework to include and improve the retention of, not only students with disabilities, but a diverse range of students including migrants, mature students, international students, and students from different socio-economic backgrounds.

The values underpinning the Road Map series are explained in the following video:

Back to the Road Map for Inclusive Education Homepage >>

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Creating Inclusive Environments in Education and Employment for People with Disabilities

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