The 3 Learning Networks explained

Universal Design for Learningis a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn.”  UDL principles are applicable for general education, English as second language learners, students with disabilities and gifted learners.  UDL allow choices, different paths.  As a science teacher, I need to utilize multiple means of representation, action and expression and engagement to be able to reach the diverse students in class.

The term UNIVERSAL DESIGN FOR LEARNING means a scientifically valid framework for guiding educational practice that: (A) provides flexibility in the ways information is presented, in the ways students respond or demonstrate knowledge and skills, and in the ways students are engaged; and (B) reduces barriers in instruction, provides appropriate accommodations, supports, and challenges, and maintains high achievement expectations for all students, including students with disabilities and students who are limited English proficient. (Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA))

Think about your community and notice that UDL principles apply in all spheres of life.  Below are The 3 learning networks:

In other words:

Multiple Means of Representation-The “what” of learning (Recognition Networks)

The content is represented in multiple ways including text, audio clips, and video.  For example, in mathematics give students a symbolic number and a physical representation (using manipulatives).

Multiple Means of Action and Expression-The “how” of learning (Strategic Networks)

Online activities, discussion questions, and lesson plan assignments allow students to express their understanding in different ways.

Multiple Means of Engagement-The “why” of learning (Affective Networks)

Text, audio, video, activities, additional resources, information, links to more information and to other web sites allow students multiple ways to engage with the content.

Why use UDL while planning lessons:

UDL “helps address learner variability by suggesting flexible goals, methods, materials, and assessments that empower educators to meet these varied needs.” These flexible goals are referred to as 4 components of curriculum:

  1. What are the goals-how is the standards translated to things that are important to do and learn in class.
  2. What are the materials used: are they key to learning.
  3. What are the methods used to teach and learn: how students interact with the activities and with peers-collaboration, lecture, or real life experience.
  4. What are the assessment strategies: how are we sure that learning really occurs.

Design class for everyone to succeed.

Learning should be universal to meet the needs of the diverse population in our classes.

Information above was generated from UDL Resources:

CAST UDL online modules:

UDL at CAST videos (UDL at a glance and more videos):

Universal Design for Learning guidelines (a printable chart that outline the UDL principles):

UDL Connect site-more videos added by National Center on UDL:

National Center on UDL.  Learn about UDL curriculum, expert learners, and technology:

3 principles of UDL:

The concept of UDL:


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