UDL – Universal Design for Learning
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an educational model aimed at using neurological research to create inclusive learning environments. The model is based on the understanding that people differ greatly in terms of capabilities and limitations, preferred learning styles, interests, needs, and skills. The UDL model recommends flexibility in teaching methodology, without compromising the goals and objectives of learning. While adhering to rigorous academic standards, UDL changes the way we reach academic goals by redesigning curricula, teaching materials and styles of teaching and training to fit the widest range of learners, including students with diverse disabilities.
IMPLEMENTING UDL AT ONO
In September 2016, 14 professors from Ono Academic College took part in a special UDL training course that taught them the basics of this new, innovative approach to inclusive education. Following the training, the Center for Academic Equality and Inclusion at Ono Academic College launched a pilot program in the college’s Occupational Therapy Department in which five students with learning disabilities, Autism and health challenges began studying towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Therapy. Their professors applied UDL principles to accommodate them, while ensuring complete equality with the other students in the class.
Initial reports show that the professors believe that they have becoming more creative and effective educators, and student feedback suggests that the techniques applied improve the academic experience for all students involved.
Ono Academic College aims to expand the program to other faculties across the college within the next year.