We all learn differently. It’s easier for some, and harder for others, but at some point, we all struggle. Classes around the world are filled with diverse learners that bring a variety of experiences, knowledge, and even struggles. It is crucial that the needs of all students are accounted for throughout the learning process.
This dance Learning Together was inspired by our deeply held belief that all students should have the equal opportunity to get the most from their education. The overarching theme of this piece is Universal Design for Learning (UDL), a framework that facilitates accommodating variability among learners from the outset.
What is UDL?
- The goal of education in the 21st century is not simply the mastery of content knowledge or use of new technologies. It is the mastery of the learning process. Education should help turn novice learners into expert learners—individuals who want to learn, who know how to learn strategically, and who, in their own highly individual and flexible ways, are well prepared for a lifetime of learning. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) helps educators meet this goal by providing a framework for understanding how to create curricula that meets the needs of all learners from the start.
- Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a set of principles for development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn. UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone – not a single, one-size-fits all solution, but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs.
Why did we submit this proposal?
Why not? Accessibility and UDL are very important to us and we figured this would be a great opportunity to introduce a new audience to these topics on a different stage outside of the classroom.
When properly executed, UDL has the power to eliminate the need for some students who receive disability accommodations; subsequently having major implications on the way disability accommodations are executed and perceived. The learning experience improves when students are able to choose the activities and ways that they demonstrate mastery in a course. UDL lessens the perceived burden of accommodations on schools, instructors, and students, therefore removing the stigma that these students often feel.
Why should UDL matter to you?
- UDL allows students to have more agency over their education.
- Learning is variable. A class may be designed for “blue” learners, which means it excludes all the other colors of the spectrum. We all have learning differences and UDL supports all of them.
- Even if you’ve haven’t struggled, someone you care about has. You want them to have all the tools available to achieve their goals.