A diverse set of learners will encounter your materials and perform the tasks you assign. Designing for this broad range of users will help to make your course more inclusive as well as ensure compliance with federal and university regulations.
While it is essential that course materials meet the legal requirements for accessibility, adding alt tags to images, providing closed captions on videos, or using headings and tags in documents for example, UDL extends to the instructional design of the course itself.
The central element of UDL is designing instruction and creating content to be available in multiple and flexible ways:
- mode of presentation
- ways of responding to learning tasks
Universal design is inherently good course design and benefits everyone, not just students with identified needs. Online learning lends itself to this instructional design approach, as content that is born digital can be born accessible and displayed easily in multiple formats.
More information about the aspects of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) can be found in this great overview video from CAST, the leading resource on UDL.
Need more information or support around designing inclusively? Schedule a consultation with one of the OOL’s instructional designers.