Universal Design for Learning Principle 1: Provide Multiple Means of Representation

Representation graphic: the WHAT of learning
© CAST, 2015.

Students vary in the way that they acquire information and knowledge.  If material is only presented in one format, some students will be unnecessarily excluded.  By presenting materials in multiple formats, learning opportunities are increased for all.  In particular, options should be considered for perception, language, mathematical expressions, and symbols, and comprehension.

Guideline 1. Provide options for perception

The first guideline addresses the variability in the perception of students.  By presenting materials in multiple formats, more opportunities are provided for students to access the material.

Examples of implementation:

  • Provide digital copies of class materials so that students can personalize them.
  • During lectures, have visuals that complement what is stated.
  • Provide captions or transcripts of videos that will allow students to search through them.

Guideline 2: Provide options for language, mathematical expressions, and symbols

The second guideline addresses the variability of students to recognize and understand language, mathematical expressions, and symbols. Some language, expressions, or symbols may aid one student’s understanding, while it may cause confusion for another student.  Therefore clarity can be enhanced by providing these options.

Examples of Implementation:

  • Pre-teach vocabulary and make connections between symbolic notation and meaning.
  • Provide digital materials with an embedded glossary.
  • Provide class materials that allow the use of text-to-speech.

 Guideline 3: Provide options for comprehension

Along with options for how the material is presented, options should be considered that aid in student’s understanding.  That is, provide options that help students transform accessible information into usable knowledge.

Examples of Implementation:

  • Supply necessary background information and make connections with ideas students have already learned.
  • Provide mind maps as a guide to processing information.
  • Provide an outline for what will be covered during class.

FrauendienstSpecial Guest Blogger Leah Frauendienst, Instructor of Mathematics

Suggested UDL Resources

Websites & Organizations: