UDL Principle: Multiple means of Action and Expression

The principle of action and expression is about how students learn. Learners’ skills vary in how they express their knowledge. By offering purposeful options for students to demonstrate what they have learned through various forms we can help them to do this to the best of their ability.  

This principle also gives autonomy to our students by highlighting executive functioning, where students apply what they learn strategically (such as how to find, use, organise and create information, how to control their attention and monitor their own progress).  

Read about the principle of Multiple Means of Action and Expression on CAST's website.


UDL Guideline  Key question  Examples 
Provide options for Physical Action  Can my students interact with accessible materials and tools?

Provide options that allow for different physical responses, such as allowing students to record their notes using audio. 

Allow all learners to participate by facilitating access to assistive technologies such as voice recorders, screen readers, or text-to-speech software. 

Provide options for Expression and Communication  How can I offer purposeful options for students to show what they know? 

Think beyond essays and exams and offer a variety of low-stakes assignments (such as quizzes, reflective writing, discussions, e-portfolios) throughout the semester to allow students to practice what they are learning in different ways. 

Offer students choice in how they demonstrate their knowledge, such as through essay, video or PowerPoint presentation. 

Provide examples, rubrics and guidelines to alleviate assessment anxiety and guide students in exactly what is expected of them. 

Make the learning process a regular part of class discussions. Ask students to about what worked and what didn’t work in their own learning, and model your own learning processes by talking about how you learned this material. 

Provide options for Executive Functions  How can I support my students to become strategic, goal-directed learners? 

Apply and gradually release scaffolds to support independent learning, such as prompts, calendars and checklists. 

Post goals, objectives, and schedules in an obvious place. 

Provide frequent, constructive and timely feedback and encourage persistence. 

Help students to monitor their progress and reflect on their learning so see their own progress. 

Provide students with a reading time for texts or websites (Chrome and Edge have extensions such as Reader Mode which will tell you how long it takes to read a piece of text), and, if possible, let students know how long an assignment will take.


Learn more about making your assessments more inclusive using Universal Design for Learning