- Universally designed lessons (UDL) utilize a diverse array of components, like audiovisual options, illustrations, enlarged print, or glossaries, and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) encourages districts to use them to help learners with disabilities in particular.
- ESSA explicitly calls for states to use principles of UDL when developing student assessments, as well as asking them to include UDL in their comprehensive literacy plans.
- Under ESSA, some federal funding is available to defray costs associated with UDL implementation and planning.
This little-known provision in ESSA is important for districts to consider, especially since there's funding attached and UDL principles aren't only for learners with disabilities. UDL can work for all students, bringing new and interesting elements into traditional curricula.
UDL principles can also be applied to personalized learning, a trend picking up steam nationwide. According to eSchoolNews, for schools engaged in individualized plans for students, UDL theory can guide educators wrestling with the questions of why (establishing priorities), what (information receipt and analysis), and how (creating and planning action) of learning related to brain networks.
For districts looking to get started or learn more, Goalbook has published a white paper detailing UDL methodology called Different Paths Up the Same Mountain. The paper lays out a five-step instructional design process that can be tested in the classroom.