Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework for curriculum development that supports the diverse learning needs of students. Using UDL strategies to intentionally design a flexible learning environment for students can eliminate potential barriers to learning and result in a more equitable, inclusive, and supportive learning experience.

UDL Guidelines

The UDL guidelines established by the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) provide a framework for designing instructional materials, methods, and assessments to meet individual student learning needs. Below are the three main guidelines with strategies for implementing them in the classroom:

Multiple Means of Engagement: The ‘why’ of learning

  • Vary learning activities to engage students with different learning styles
  • Foster collaboration and cooperative learning strategies
  • Encourage students to assess their own learning

Multiple Means of Representation: The ‘what’ of learning

  • Provide course content in multiple formats (digital, visual, auditory) 
  • Guide students in understanding how course content is transferable beyond the classroom
  • Offer clear and concise instructions for assignments 

Multiple Means of Action & Expression: The ‘how’ of learning

  • Give students a choice in how they demonstrate their understanding 
  • Use multiple forms of media for communication 
  • Utilize scaffolding to break a long-term goal into smaller segments

Learn more about the Universal Design for Learning Guidelines from CAST.

Why Use UDL?

  • Embracing UDL guidelines promotes an inclusive learning environment where students feel their contributions and perspectives are valued and respected. 
  • Providing multiple means of representation, engagement and expression empowers students to be an active participant in their college experience and to take ownership of their learning. 
  • Minimizing barriers to learning from the start increases access to course content and enhances learning opportunities. 


Getting Started with UDL

  • Consider areas in your course where you could introduce flexibility in the way you present content.
  • Offer students multiple, low-stakes opportunities to practice their skills. 
  • Conduct brief, informal assessments of how students are progressing in the course.  
  • Examine an existing course assignment and identify an area where you could provide students with a choice in how they interact with the course material. 

Learn more about how to adopt UDL Practices and Strategies in your courses. 


At Colgate, several resources are available for creating more accessible course materials:


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Request a consultation 


To learn more about UDL and the resources available at Colgate, contact:


Instructional Designer - Learning Platforms and Universal Design

Ask for Help

If you are unable to find the information you need in the documentation available online, the ITS Service Desk is available to assist.