Research on Universal Design for Learning

Students come to our classes with different skills, experience and motivation.  This is especially true of students who have a disability.  Some instructors may choose to adapt their course to meet the needs of a particular student with a disability on a case-by-case basis, while others may construct a course with a variety of teaching methods to limit barriers to learning for all.  While we do not endorse a particular course design strategy, Universal Design for Learning (UDL) has demonstrated some effectiveness for teaching learners with and without a disability.

To learn more about methods of UDL implementation for postsecondary students, take a look at this informative review.  The abstract is copied below.


This systematic review explored methods of UDL implementation for postsecondary
students with and without disabilities and the degree to which these
methods are effective. The authors examined 17 empirically based studies
published across 12 journals focused on the application of UDL principles.
The studies were analyzed with regard to 1) participant information, 2)
courses and delivery mode, 3) independent and dependent variables, 4) implementation
strategies, and 5) effectiveness of implementation. The analysis
revealed that 15 of the studies reported effective outcomes, one study resulted
in blended effects, and one did not discuss implementation. Two studies used
a blended delivery mode for special education courses, and four studies used
online delivery modes for a teacher education course and three professional
development programs. Other studies used face-to-face instruction for teacher
education, general courses, and workshops. The most common independent
variables were UDL principle-based course design and implementation, followed
by hands-on activities, training of instructors, peer-led team learning,
and a collaborative professional development model. The dependent variables
included course evaluation, learning outcomes, such as revision of lesson plans
and technology use, and level of confidence or acquisition of knowledge about
UDL and disabilities. Finally, multiple instructional strategies focusing on the
UDL principles were utilized, to include web-based computer-mediated communication,
web-based class management systems, interactions with technology and other participants, and learning community. Overall, the findings revealed
promising learning outcomes as supported by the existing literature
regarding the effectiveness and practicality of UDL for students with and
without disabilities at the postsecondary level.