Building a Skill Set to Support Universal Design for Learning

Katie Novak
Katie Novak
February 9, 2021

We have had a number of educators ask us for UDL driven resources focused on what an educator must possess to successfully engage in UDL for students. To look at this another way, what capacities does an educator need to have/be able to do in order to remove barriers to learning when designing Tier 1 instruction that is inclusive and equitable?

To create this tool, we first looked at the UDL Guidelines, which identify predictable barriers that may prevent all learners from reaching high expectations in inclusive classrooms. Next, we examined the evidence-based research on best practices, frameworks, and strategies for eliminating those barriers. Finally, we linked resources so educators can learn more about the skill set and begin to consider how multiple evidence-based strategies can be used to universally design instruction for all learners. 

Note that this tool is focused on first, best instruction. In order to meet the needs of all learners, it is critical that the system supplements targeted intervention and enrichment so students move seamlessly between tiers academically, behaviorally, socially, and emotionally. When these services are necessary, it is essential that the support supplements and does not supplant, Tier 1 instruction.

How You Can Use This UDL Skillset Tool
  • Share the tool in an upcoming faculty meeting or professional development session. You can encourage colleagues to use the tool as a self-assessment. Educators can consider areas where they identify relative efficacy as well as areas where they would benefit from collaboration, feedback, and support. We all have areas where we can grow. That is what being an expert learner is all about.
  • Use the tool to vet your current professional development offerings. Are you providing ongoing support for all learners to eliminate barriers that may interfere with learning? Is your professional learning focused on designing instruction so it meets the needs of learners academically, behaviorally, socially, emotionally and culturally? If not, how could you begin to share or model strategies as you work as a team to scale inclusive practices in your school or district?
  • Use as a tool to inspire mastery-oriented feedback within informal or formal observations. When you identify practices that may create barriers for learners, share some of the resources to support educator practice and growth.

Download your copy of the UDL Skillset Tool

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