Transforming Educational Practices Through Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

My Reflective Journey of UDL

The education industry is ever changingm especially with the constant on-slaught of new technology to enhance content delivery. However, implementating Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles offers a roadmap to inclusivity and student success. My journey into integrating UDL into my teaching practices gave me both insights and challenges, particularly in the realms of engagement, perception, and expression.

Engaging Diverse Learners

Reflecting on Guideline 8 of the UDL framework—Provide options for sustaining effort and persistence—I recognized a gap in my ability to offer consistent, meaningful feedback (CAST, 2018). With a demanding schedule across multiple modules, finding the time to motivate students through personalized feedback became a significant challenge. This was particularly evident in courses delivered in condensed formats, where the quick pacing of such courses limits student feedback opportunities, which in my opinion are essential for student reflection and growth.

The Why of Learning - Engagement

In response, I revisited the structure of my courses, particularly Games Analysis & Design. Its creative nature demands time for skill and creativity development, suggesting a year-long delivery as a more conducive format for fostering these critical 21st-century competencies.

Enhancing Perception Through Accessible Materials

The principle of providing multiple means of representation, as outlined in Guideline 1 of the UDL framework, has been a cornerstone of my practice since my postgraduate studies in 21st Century Teaching and Learning (CAST, 2018). Employing dyslexic-friendly fonts and using yellow paper for printed materials are strategies I’ve used to make learning materials more accessible. These approaches underscore the necessity of flexibility in presentation mediums, catering to the diverse needs of learners and reminding us of the critical role accessible materials play in educational success.

Implementing UDL Principles: A Focus on Expression and Communication

My teaching experience, particularly in Web Authoring, highlighted the need for diverse assessment methods. Recognizing that traditional written reports could limit students’ ability to express their understanding, I give learners alternative assessment submission options, such as video, presentation or podcast formats. These embrace the diverse linguistic backgrounds and learning preferences within my classroom, especially now that Ireland is fast becoming a sea of multiculturism. This is supported by guidelines on alternative assessments in online environments (O’Neill, 2020).

This shift not only facilitates a more inclusive assessment landscape but also encouraged students to engage with content in ways that leveraged their strengths. The feedback from students on these changes has been overwhelmingly positive, affirming the importance of choice and flexibility in learning assessments.

The Impact of UDL Implementation and Future Directions

The incorporation of UDL principles into my teaching practice has underscored the importance of flexibility, choice, and inclusivity in the educational experience. Moving forward, I aim to further this journey by exploring gamification and modular learning paths, inspired by the success of integrating Moodle checklists and structured tutorials on my educational blog (Novak & Thibodeau, 2016). These strategies not only aim to enhance student engagement but also to provide a framework for continuous reflection and goal setting, key components of a successful learning journey.


The journey toward fully integrating UDL principles into educational practices is ongoing and reflective. It challenges educators to reconsider traditional approaches and embrace strategies that cater to the diverse needs of all learners. My experiences highlight the transformative potential of UDL in creating more inclusive, engaging, and successful learning environments.


CAST. (2018). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.2.

O’Neill, G. (2020). 10 Points to Consider in Choosing Alternative Assessment Methods for the Online Environment. Teaching and

Novak, K., & Thibodeau, T. (2016). UDL Now! A Teacher’s Guide to Applying Universal Design for Learning in Today’s Classrooms. CAST Professional Publishing.

This revision aims to provide a structured and accessible overview of your journey with UDL, highlighting key insights, changes, and impacts of these practices.

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