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Welcome to the "Universal Design for Learning" excerpt of the National Educational Technology Panel Report.

The excerpt uses pages 14 through 18 of the report to demonstrate some UDL features. To see descriptions of the UDL features and how they support learning, click on "Show UDL Information. Click on each UDL icon for feature descriptions. Our excerpt demonstrates only a few examples of UDL learning supports. For more information about UDL and the UDL Guidelines, go to The National Center on UDL.

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For more information about Universal Design for Learning watch this short video.

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How People Need to Learn

two smiling girls using a computer

Copyright:Getty Images. All rights reserved

Advances in the learning sciences, including cognitive science, neuroscience, education, and social sciences, give us greater understanding of three connected types of human learning–factual knowledge, procedural knowledge, and motivational engagement. Neuroscience tells us that these three different types of learning are supported by three different brain systems. (See sidebar on the neuroscience of learning.) Social sciences reveal that human expertise integrates all three types of learning. Technology has increased our ability to both study and enhance all three types of learning.(National Research Council, 2000, 2003, 2007, 2009; National Science Foundation, 2008b).

Check Your Understanding

Here is a question to check your understanding of what you have read. If you need a hint click on the image of the coach. Click the "check" button to check your answer.

The anterior (frontal) regions of the brain are most prominently associated with which aspect of learning?

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Factual Knowledge

Students are surrounded with information in a variety of forms, and specific features of information design affect how and whether students build usable knowledge from the information they encounter. For example, computers can replicate and integrate a wide variety of media for learning and education: text, video/film, animations, graphics, photos, diagrams, simulations, and more. As a result, technology can be designed to provide much richer learning experiences without sacrificing what traditional learning media offer. Technology can:

  • Represent information through a much richer mix of media types: This allows the integration of media and representations to illustrate, explain, or explore complex ideas and phenomena, such as interactive visualizations of data in earth and environmental sciences, chemistry, or astronomy. Technology can help learners explore phenomena at extreme spatial or temporal scales through simulation and modeling tools. This opens up many domains and ways of learning that were formerly impossible or impractical.
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    For an example of free interactive tools and simulation environments that enable and encourage exploration and discovery through observation, conjecture, and modeling activities, visit Shodor MASTER Tools.

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  • Facilitate knowledge connections through interactive tools:These include interactive concept maps, data displays, and timelines that provide visual connections between existing knowledge and new ideas.
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    For a free interactive concept-mapping tool, go to Webspiration.

    For an example of an interactive timeline authoring tool, visit Read, Write, Think: Timeline

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