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Accessible for All!

Universal Design for Learning

Improving inclusion in schools is central to the world agenda for education (Azorin & Ainscow, 2020). Regardless of subject area, teachers are consistently faced with how best to respond to student differences within their teaching setting. Fortunately, Universal Design for Learning (UDL) has emerged as a framework to help remove barriers and increase access to learning to provide all students equal opportunities to learn and succeed.

The UDL framework originated from architectural concepts and the understanding that physical environments could be accessibly designed so that all individuals (regardless of age, gender, disability, etc.) could easily, and without notice, have access to buildings and its resources. The UDL framework to create lesson plans, apply instruction and conduct assessments is based on three main principles (CAST, 2018):


Stimulating students’ interests & motivation for learning in a variety of ways. The why of learning.

Within the PE setting, how do you reduce students’ discomfort and distraction? How do you urge each student to take risks without being forced out of their comfort zone? Do you provide opportunities for student choice and autonomy? Does your PE program offer tasks that are meaningful and authentic? How do you maximize opportunities for students to respond and engage in the learning tasks?


Presenting information and course content in multiple formats so that all students can access it. The what of learning.

How do you present information to students? Do you provide multiple means of representations like text, pictures, demonstrations (with verbal explanations), videos, and posters, and incorporate a variety of teaching strategies? How do you highlight that all learners can demonstrate physical activity and skill development?

Action & Expression

Allowing students alternatives to express or demonstrate their learning. The how of learning.

Do you give students options to express what they know and can do? Do you allow student choice when assessing students? How do you help students set goals and manage information?

Considering the three UDL principles in your day-to-day teaching and planning of PE, does your programme protect, understand and promote the rights of marginalized groups? How are you ensuring students with disabilities, different ethnic origins, diverse genders and sexualities, and those from low social class backgrounds, are able to access the learning? Is the learning relevant to all individuals?

To get a one-page description of how UDL in PE might look, please take a look below and/or download here at the free store.

If you are wanting more resources regarding UDL in relation to PE, take a look below:

Lieberman & Grenier - UDL in PE (YouTube Video)

Universal Design for Learning in PE (book by Lieberman, Grenier, Brian, & Arndt, 2020)

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Thank you for reading!

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