Universal Instructional Design Background

Universal Design (UD), a concept pioneered by Ron Mace at North Carolina State University and rooted in the field of architectural design, emphasizes the importance of anticipating the needs of an increasingly diverse public. UDI has been described as a goal, a process, and a collection of strategies. The goal of UDI is to maximize the learning of all students by applying UD principles to all learning products and environments. The process of UDI has been described by the Center for Universal Design in Education at the University of Washington, Seattle. A learning framework called Universal Design for Learning (UDL), developed by the Center for Applied Special Technology and supported by a comprehensive research base, stems from UD. The Center for Applied Special Technology has operationalized UDI into a series of strategies that instructors can employ. Each strategy is linked with relevant principles of UD, UID, and UDL. Using a different approach, Universal Design for Instruction (UDI) principles were developed by researchers at the Center on Postsecondary Education and Disability at the University of Connecticut drawing on the work of Chickering and Gamson, who had originally published a set of principles for more inclusive postsecondary education, and the Principles of Universal Design.