When designing curriculum, it is important to ensure that your lessons are accessible for all students. This can be accomplished through incorporating principles of Universal Design for Learning.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

A framework for designing curriculum to create effective learning opportunities for every student, regardless of learning differences. UDL consists of three main principles:

Representation: How is the information presented to the students?

  • Information should be presented in multiple ways such as video, audio, text, or images.
  • Example: When teaching about disability disclosure, provide students with a written script and also show them a video of someone demonstrating disability disclosure

Action and Expression: How will the students demonstrate what they are learning?

  • Students should be given the option to demonstrate their learning in multiple ways such as writing a summary, making a PowerPoint, drawing a picture, or creating a video.
  • Example: When teaching about job interview skills, give the students the option of demonstrating how to answer interview questions appropriately by writing their answers, creating a slideshow of their answers, or making a video of themselves answering interview questions.

Engagement: How are you maintaining each student’s engagement in your lessons?

  • Students will be more engaged and motivated to participate when lessons and learning activities incorporate their interests.
  • Example: If your students are working on how to fill out job applications, let each student pick a specific job that they are interested in when they are completing this assignment.

Below is a table that gives examples of how to implement UDL in the classroom. For each student vignette and lesson, examples of representation, action and expression, and engagement are given.


Student and Lesson Representation Action and Expression Engagement
·    Haley is a visual learner. She learns best through pictures and videos. For projects, Haley prefers to make creative videos with her friends where she acts out what she learns.


·    Lesson: “How to communicate professionally in the workplace”

·      Haley’s provider shows videos on how to communicate effectively

·      Her provider also shows images of proper nonverbal communication

·      Haley decides to get together with her friends to complete the project

·      They decide to create a video about professional communication


·      Haley wants to work as a Veterinarian Assistant

·      She decided to make her project about what professional communication looks like at her local Animal Hospital

·    Nathan learns best through reading and writing. When given a project or assignment, Nathan prefers to work alone and write a paper about what he learns.


·    Lesson: “What are the different types of postsecondary education?”

·      Nathan’s provider gives him the option of reading articles about different types of postsecondary education

·      His provider also shared links to all of the college programs in the state.

·      Nathan decides to work by himself on the project

·      He also decides that he prefers to write a paper

·      Nathan wants to apply to an inclusive higher education program

·      He decides to research and write about all of the inclusive higher education programs in the state