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Universally Designed Learning Environments

The context and environment determine what is learned and how it is learned. Therefore the classroom, furniture, arrangement of that furniture, and display screens/boards establish a particular learning environment. Universally Designed Learning Environments (UDLE) are learning environments which embrace the diversity of the learners in every course.

Factors to Consider

  • Access to the physical space (Americans with Disabilities Act)
  • The learning space
      • Physical
        • Comfort - temperature, lighting, noise, seating arrangements,
        • Accessibility - movement pathways, ability for students to see and hear, etc.
      • Virtual  (online courses)
        • Highly interactive - synchronous and asynchronous, multiple options for interaction/communication
        • Multi-tasking - different devices, different roles, different virtual locations
  • Classroom social/emotional climate (welcoming and safe for all)
      • Comfortable sharing ideas and opinions
        • Transitions from brainstorming toward conclusions/perspectives
      • Encourages and supports engagement
      • Classroom management strategy
      • More on Classroom Climate – Cornell University
  • Course interactions (in and out of class)
      • Communication language, tools and strategies
        • Mapping discussions, thought pathways and decision-trees
      • Grouping options (individual, pairs, small groups)
      • Presentation materials and resources are usable, multi-format, transitional and relevant
  • Learning experiences
      • Student-centered, adaptable and meaningful
      • Organized to be flexibility/adaptability
      • Embraces student choice
      • Integrates authentic learning experiences
      • Multiple formats and opportunities for engagement and expression
  • Assessment activities and tools
      • Multiple formats
      • Matched to learning goals
      • Valid and reliable
  • Technologies and technology use/availability
      • Learning management system
      • Multiple representations of information
      • Social and learning support mechanisms
  • Instructor
      • Location and time in class
      • Movement/proximity
      • Accessibility in and out of class
      • Language and terminology used
      • Student interactions and support
      • Connecting With Your Students – Cornell University

Pertinent Resources

May 26, 2022