Modern Learning Defined Part 2: Universal Design for Learning

In modern teaching environments, efforts have been made to implement the Universal Design for Learning. UDL is a plan for teaching which, through the use of technology and adaptable lesson plans, aims to help the maximum number of learners comprehend and retain information by appealing to all learning styles.

UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone--not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs.

Use of captions in video are a good example of universal design for learning.

Captioning videos will not only benefit the deaf viewers, but there are additional advantages, including:2

  • Lending support to viewers who are learning English as a second language; and, can also be translated to other foreign languages through automatic translation services extending audience reach

  • Allowing the growing aging population with progressive hearing losses to enjoy videos that are captioned

  • Offering help to people who are “situationally” disabled, such as those in a noisy cafeteria or airport

  • Enhancing the understanding of content by employees challenged with cognitive disabilities and gradual hearing loss due to aging

  • Exporting text to transcripts so employees who do not have time to watch the entire video can read them

  • Enhancing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) rankings and improving discovery and marketability of certain videos2

Why is UDL necessary?1

Individuals bring a huge variety of skills, needs, and interests to learning. Neuroscience reveals that these differences are as varied and unique as our DNA or fingerprints. Three primary brain networks come into play:

Recognition Networks- The “what” of learning, how we gather facts and categorize what we see, hear and read. Identifying letters, words or an authors style are recognition tasks. Present information and content in different ways.

Strategic Networks- The “how” of learning, planning and performing tasks. How we organize and express our ideas. Writing an essay or solving a math problem are strategic tasks. Differentiate the ways that students can express what they know.

Affective Networks- The “why” of learning, how learners get engaged and stay motivated. How they are challenged, excited or interested. Stimulate interest and motivation for learning.1

Universal Design is an important aspect of Modern Learning. Zavango Ascend supports adaptive learning via narrative text, captions and also via interactive video.




1Source: CAST - What is UDL? (http://www.cast.org/research/udl)

2http://ageandability.com/2016/02/09/increasing-engagement-through-captions/