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Universal Design for Learning

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Since the beginning of education, the classroom has been created based on ‘one size fits all’, we now know that this is not the case, but we keep on trying to fit our children into a one-size- fits-all classroom. The challenge of individual differences faces every teacher, principal, and curriculum researcher. To meet that challenge, teachers are typically equipped with media and materials that are ‘one size fits all’ and that have been designed primarily for a narrow and elusive group of ‘regular’ students, we now know that no one child learns in the same way.  Rather than seeing the problem within the student, we need to change how we deliver the curriculum to suit how students learn. In other words, rather than ‘fixing’ the pupil’, we should instead fix the curriculum and its delivery, to take account of learner differences in our classes. Universal Design for Learning creates curricula and learning environments that are designed to achieve success for a much wider range of student abilities and disabilities, by choosing effective methods and materials and by selecting the best way to assess their students’ progress. The content of this course has been revised and updated in 2021.

About the course

Through innovative uses of modern multimedia technology and contemporary research in the cognitive neurosciences, Universal Design for learning has developed a new field of teaching methods.  In this course we look at the resources and adaptations that can be made for a diverse student group and how they can be designed into the classroom and the curriculum which not only benefits children with special needs but all students. When a teacher understands their students through the UDL lens, they create a flexible learning environment and provide opportunities for learner voice and choice. When lessons are designed using the UDL model, the lesson includes goals, methods, materials, tools, and assessments to reach and support the maximum amount of learners in the classroom.

Who is this course aimed at?

This course is designed for teachers, and those working with learners in many different contexts. It is also be of interest to curriculum designers, psychologists and educational professionals who want to learn more about the application of universal design for learning.

Approved by the Department of Education

This course is approved by the Department of Education.

Three EPV days will be allowed for primary school teachers who take the course during the summer term. Please note this provision applies only to the summer term as per Department guidelines.

We have four terms a year, Autumn, Spring, May/June & Summer.

The course begins with an overview of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) providing international perspectives, and the connection between Universal Design and UDL. We look at the important work of Dr David Rose of the Centre for Applied Special Technology (CAST). We overview UD in an Irish context and look at the work of the Centre of Excellence in Universal Design (CEUD).  We consider The School Self-Evaluation Draft Guidelines (DES), the National Council for Curriculum & Assessment (NCCA) and the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST), particularly in relation to ICT.  In module two we elaborate on the pedagogical underpinning of UDL and its implications for curriculum design, learning and assessment. From Principle to Practice, module three introduces exemplars of best practice to implement UDL in order to raise attainment and promote inclusion. Technology and its potential to support and extend learning opportunities will be elaborated in module four, we also explore the use of Assistive Technology (AT) in removing barriers to accessing the curriculum.  In module 5 will concentrate on assessment in the UDL classroom. The 3 Block model will be outlined and UDL toolkits and protocols for assessment.

Key highlights

  • By understanding the "Why", the "What" and the "How" of learning, it is possible to design classrooms, materials and methods to accommodate all learners and students.
  • Universally designing classes from the start  saves the need to retrofit
  • Every student has different learning needs and are therefore special, how we accommodate those needs is crucial to 21st century learning.
  • There are also many students who learn better through other methods such as auditory or visual methods. UDL recognises diversity as the norm and promotes proactive planning to respond to the different needs of students.
  • Enjoy rich opportunities for collaboration with our online network of learners and tutors.
  • Save printable course materials and resources for future reference.

Interactive Learning Assignments accompany each module. Each student is also required to complete a Reflective Assignment as well as a CPD record.

On completion, you will receive a Certificate of Continuing Professional Development and a Learning Log of your work, which can be included in your CPD portfolio.

All of our tutors are experts in the area of positive psychology, resilience and wellbeing and will provide you with one-to-one guidance as you complete your studies online.

Technical support is provided by our dedicated team of qualified learning technologists, who are available to assist you by telephone or email.



4 July - 26 August 2022


18th August 2022

Summer Term
4th July to 26th August 2022

20 hours of self paced study any time during the term

Certificate of CPD ** Summer term fully approved for EPV days for Primary Teachers**