For this week’s edition of Magna Mondays, we chose a fantastic 20-Minute Mentor presented by Dr. Thomas (Tom) Tobin: How Can I Implement UDL in the Next 20 Minutes?  We highly recommend watching the full video in 20-Minute Mentor Commons in the Chapman University Magna Campus.

What is UDL?

UDL stands for Universal Design for Learning.  UDL is…

  • finding multiple ways of keeping people engaged.
  • presenting information in multiple ways.
  • providing multiple ways of taking action.

“[UDL is] providing choices for all of the interactions that students have with the materials, with each other, and with the instructor.”

-Dr. Tom Tobin

Why Do UDL?

A common misunderstanding is that Universal Design for Learning is only for learners with disabilities.  Universal Design for Learning minimizes barriers and maximizes learning for all students by creating unique pathways for all students based on their preferred method of learning.  Research shows that implementing UDL in a small, well-defined way reduces student questions and confusion and leads to greater student persistence, retention, and satisfaction.

How Can I Start Implementing UDL in My Course in the Next 20 Minutes?

Dr. Tobin recommends thinking about your course and identifying elements that are currently “single stream” (information is presented in only one way).  For example, maybe PowerPoint presentations are currently the only way that content is delivered.  Or maybe instructional videos are currently audio-visual only, with no captions or transcript.  What are some other ways that the information could be presented?  For example, maybe in addition to text-based lecture notes, a math instructor could record a quick screencast of themselves solving a math problem in real time and talking through their approach.  A great place to start implementing UDL is an area of your course where students always ask the same questions, always make mistakes on tests/quizzes, or always ask for alternate explanations.

“UDL is all about options, convenience, and access based on students’ ever-changing needs.”

-Dr. Tom Tobin

References and Additional Resources

Wishing you a wonderful week!