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Essential for Some, Helpful for All: Accessibility in the Context of Universal Design for Learning

taught by: Luis Pérez

Session Summary

Explore the creation and use of accessible educational materials in the context of Universal Design for Learning, a framework for ensuring education provides every student with the opportunity to become an expert learner.


Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework for the proactive and intentional design of learning environments that work for everyone, and accessibility is foundational to UDL. Accessible educational materials (AEM) are designed to enhance the usability of educational materials across a wide range of learner variability. From a UDL perspective, AEM and accessible technologies may be customized and adjusted to meet individual needs, making them assets for all learners.

In this presentation, participants will dive into the three core principles of UDL: multiple means of engagement, representation and action and expression. Examples for addressing each principle through the intentional design of accessible educational materials will be provided, along with a range of AEM Center and CAST resources that education professionals can use to continue their own learning on UDL and AEM and create professional development opportunities for others.

A set of quality indicators for developing robust provision services at the state and local level, along with a new progress monitoring tool for ensuring the continuous improvement of AEM systems, will also be introduced.

Practical Skills

  • Define Universal Design for Learning and provide examples of each principle and how it can be implemented in educational environments in both K-12 and higher education.
  • Locate AEM Center resources for increasing understanding of accessibility best practices for creating materials that support the implementation of UDL.
  • Quality indicators for the creation of robust AEM provision systems and the use of a progress monitoring tool for AEM.