What is Universal Design for Learning (UDL)?
Universal design for learning is a framework. It is meant to help provide guidelines for people in charge of educating students. It differs from other strategies because of its area of focus. Instead of looking at the students, its focus is on the environment.
Universal Design for Learning targets 3 fundamental brain regions
- Affective Network
- Recognition Network
- Strategic Network
The 3 core tenets of Universal Design for Learning
The core of the philosophy is broken down into three tenets. Each of these targets a specific underlying brain network. Consequently, it engages all learning styles. That way, students can always keep up regardless of their individual learning preferences.
Before a student can learn, they must engage with the material. In psychology, engagement is a part of affect. This principle targets students' motivation. The intended goal is to improve their comprehension of the material.
Affect is the psychological term for emotion. Technically, it guides nearly every one of our daily decisions. By catering to it, we make learning easier for the student.
When you are engaged, staying motivated is easy. We teach students tools to monitor their motivation levels and self regulate.
Multiple Modes of Engagement:
Every student is different. Trying to engage each of them the same way is futile. That's why we have multiple modes. Using multiple methods of engagement is essential. Otherwise, some students will struggle to keep up.
Representation refers to how information is presented to us. For example, you've probably heard of visual learners. This is a similar concept, although slightly deeper.
People Process Information In Different Ways:
An easy way to imagine this is by picturing a disabled student. For instance, blind students don't benefit from visual learning materials. We cater to everyone's strengths.
Offering Alternative For Everyone:
All of our learning materials are made available in numerous representations. That way, each student can find something that works best for them. Each lesson includes numerous alternatives for all learning styles.
Finding the Best Method of Representation:
Some students will learn particularly well using their eyes. Others may do better with their ears. We work with each of them to determine an individual approach.
3. Action and expression
Action and expression refer to the way that we interact with the world. Students differ in their capacity to interact with the external world. Some of them might be disabled. Others may struggle with written language. Regardless, they all deserve a chance.
Movement Is Different For Everyone:
Expression and interaction differ for everyone. Not every student is born with the same opportunities as everyone else. Our program is designed to provide support for all students. Even students who have physical disabilities are taken into consideration.
No One Means of Action Is Ideal:
Not only do we take into account all types of students, but we also recognize there is no hierarchy. A student who has a physical disability is no better or worse than one who does not. Our entire philosophy is built around equality of treatment despite our differences.
How does Universal Design for Learning benefit all students?
What does this philosophy have to offer my students? We are glad you asked. It recognizes that everyone deserves an equal opportunity to receive a quality education. Without a quality education, we are all handicapped in life. By acknowledging inherent differences, we work to overcome obstacles. Pretending that everyone learns the same way does not benefit anyone. The Universal Design for Learning attempts to incorporate everyone. 
1. Increase access to learning
Our guidelines improve the ability of students to access an education. They aim to provide support for anyone interested in becoming a better learner. That way, everyone can access the same opportunity.
These principles help keep students on task. As they progress, they develop the skills necessary to regulate their own attention. This will be an invaluable skill throughout life.
Perceptive options are vital. It is no wonder that so many students struggle in traditional classroom settings. If you were not good at learning with visual material, but that was all that was available, what else can you expect? Our guidelines ensure that no student struggles with these circumstances.
Interacting with the world is a crucial part of the human experience. Not only does it keep your heart pumping, but it also engages different parts of your brain. By developing an all-encompassing approach, we involve all of the brain in learning.
2. Build better disciple and persistence
Discipline and persistence are continuously improved throughout our program. Ultimately, we hope to produce self-directed learners. To this end, much of our curriculum focuses on self-regulation.
Students will learn how to regularly self monitor the way they express themselves. Communication serves an important role in all areas of life. Whether you are at work or at home, communicating allows you to exchange ideas with other people. Without it, conflict is inevitable. By teaching students new skills, we improve their communication with the outside world. Kritik's anonymous peer to peer platform acts as a safe space, and enables students to express themselves and the feelings they have regarding pressing and sensitive issues.
3. Boost executive function and self-regulation
The executive function is what separates humans from other animals. It derives from the most recently evolved part of the brain. This is called the prefrontal cortex. When you make a conscious decision, it is that part of the brain doing the work. Our entire program is designed to focus keenly on neuroscience. As long as you are committed, you can benefit from the process.
Develop Into an Expert Learner:
Once students graduate from their programs, they will have learned many new skills. These skills should help them become more independent. The underlying philosophy of their program is straightforward. We hope that we can help students become better learners. Not only do we want them to be better learners, but we want them to be experts. To us, expert learners are self-guided. Thus, your students will know how to learn more effectively. Once they internalize these concepts, they can learn anything. Professors have used Kritik as a way of identifying experts at mastering course material and understanding how course concepts apply to real world applications
When you enter the adult world, you are on your own. Sure, you will always have your family. Nevertheless, when you are at work, you cannot call your parents to bail you out. As such, good education prepares you for these situations. Our program cultivates resourcefulness inside of your students. By the time that they are finished, they can come up with novel solutions to unique problems. When life presents them with something, they will adapt.
Purpose and Motivation:
Finally, purpose and motivation are central to life. If you have ever gone through a period of burnout, you understand this. Students can also burn out. When their school is not catering to the way that they learn, it is inevitable. focusing on these concepts ensures that your students succeed. It comes from an understanding that human beings are emotional creatures. Thus, they are driven by their emotions. You can allow these to distract you. On the other hand, you can harness them. This program teaches you how to use them to your advantage.
UDL: The bottom line
The Universal Design for Learning is an all-encompassing framework. It gives you a guide for how you can approach teaching students. It attempts to consider all of the latest research. Ultimately, it breaks down into three core principles. Each of these targets a specific brain network. Thus, it engages all three major brain regions. Furthermore, each aspect of the philosophy is further individualized for every student.