Bringing UDL to Scale: Critical Elements & Instructional Planning Process | Universal Design for Learning and Curriculum |

In recent years, the instructional framework of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) has received growing attention, yet many do not understand what UDL is. Understanding what UDL is, using the Critical Elements with fidelity and implementing the UDL Instructional Planning Process are the critical steps in scaling UDL.


"Bringing UDL to Scale: Establishing Critical Elements


In 2010, the UDL-Implementation and Research Network (UDL-IRN) ( was formed in collaboration with CAST and the National Center on UDL as a grassroots global network of educators, researchers, and developers focused on scaled implementation and research around UDL. Recognizing that UDL implementation will and should look different across different systems, it must also be acknowledged that a flexible fidelity of implementation is needed to support scaled practice. Based on this notion, members from the UDL-IRN undertook the task of developing a 1-page document that defined the Critical Elements of UDL-based instruction. Moreover, the goal was to develop a document that was user-friendly and meaningful to educators. After roughly a year of work with various groups, the UDL-IRN adopted and slightly modified version of a document developed in Michigan." (Elements outlined in this blog).


"Moving from Critical Elements to Instruction Planning


The next step for the UDL-IRN was to move forward on developing guidance for the instructional planning process. Using the Critical Elements as a springboard, the UDL-IRN developed an instructional planning process that aligns with the notion of backwards planning. This process has teachers establish clear goals, develop a plan for anticipated learner variability, develop a plan for how to measure outcomes, then plan instruction, and finally promotes a guided question for teacher reflection and understanding. The UDL Instructional Planning Process understands the iterative design notion of UDL implementation."

Via Kathleen McClaskey