Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

How to meet the learning needs of all students

Today’s classes are more diverse than ever. Students bring diverse understandings and different lived experiences. In designing your course and to save time, we encourage you to adopt principles of UDL to create more flexibility in your course. UDL is a research-based framework developed by the Centre for Applied Special Technology (CAST) that guides instructors to incorporate strategies for delivering instruction, reduce student learning barriers, and provides students with opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge in a variety of ways.

Principle 1:

Presenting information and course content in multiple formats so all students can access it.

Principle 2:
Action and Expression

Providing alternative ways for students to express or demonstrate their learning.

Principle 3: 

Using a variety of ways to stimulate student engagement and interest in learning course content.


  • Provide alternative for accessing information (e.g. visual, auditory)
  • Provide or activate background knowledge


  • Provide options for responding (polls, iClickers, chat features)
  • Provide options for completing assignments using different media (e.g. text, speech, film, music)


  • Provide options that increase the relevance and authenticity of instructional activities
  • Provide options that encourage collaboration and communication (e.g. group projects, peer tutoring)

An overview of UDL

To help guide you through a UDL approach to course design and instruction delivery, have a look at the following CAST resources:


Additional questions to consider when designing your course with UDL in mind:

  • How does your course integrate cognitive, teaching, and social presence throughout your course? Where does your course have room for improvement according to the UDL framework?
  • Are your course goals and learning outcomes clearly articulated and listed so students will know what their learning goals are?
  • Do the assessments collect evidence that students have met the learning outcome?
  • Do the learning activities prepare students for success on the assessments?
  • Does your course provide different access points to account for all learners?
  • Where can you provide multiple content formats or assessment strategies to ensure every learner is included in your course design?
  • How do your online course modules communicate task value to your students?
  • How have you created a clear, feasible learning path?
  • Have you removed barriers to learning whenever possible?

For additional support

To learn more or access additional support on UDL, please contact us or visit the Centre for Accessible Learning (CAL) for students with accommodations.

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We acknowledge and respect the lək̓ʷəŋən peoples on whose traditional territory the University of Victoria stands, and the Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.