What is Universal Design for Learning?

    The UL campus community is becoming increasingly diverse, and the need for more inclusive practices is clear. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework we can use to intentionally design inclusive practices to break down barriers for our students and provide them with more successful and meaningful learning experiences.

    The UDL guidelines, provided by US organisation CAST, are based on the idea that there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ or ‘average’ student, that all students learn differently and that to successfully teach for all students, we have to introduce greater flexibility in teaching and learning practice.


    Watch this video by UL staff and students on how UDL can help diverse learners in higher education settings (3:09 minutes).

    Barriers to Learning

    Our learners face a number of different barriers to learning including (and not limited to):

    • caring responsibilities
    • accommodation shortages
    • increased cost of living necessitating jobs
    • students with disabilities
    • students for whom English is a second language
    • students who lack academic esteem in their learning skills
    • internal barriers, such as feeling depressed, anxious or disconnected.

    The goal of UDL is to use a variety of teaching methods to remove any barriers to learning and give all students equal opportunities to succeed. It’s about building in flexibility that can be adjusted for every student’s strengths and needs. That’s why UDL benefits everyone.

    The UDL Principles

    Find out more about the three principles of UDL

    Information on UDL has been compiled by Jess Beeley as part of the UDL at UL Project. This Higher Education Authority (HEA) project was funded under the Fund for Students with Disabilities (FSD). Find out more about the UDL at UL Project.