27 July 2021

Create barrier-free goals and objectives

Suggestion for implementing the strategy ‘How to plan using UDL’

On this page:

Clarify learning intentions

Clarify learning intentions

Define the specific intention of an activity before you start to design.

This will keep your planning focussed on it's purpose.

Check for hidden barriers

Check for hidden barriers

Barriers to achivement can be hidden in the way we communicate goals or learning intentions.

Example of an assignment:

Students will be able to write a report about how ways to increase birdlife at school.

This is two tasks in one: write a report and demonstrate understanding about birdlife in the local area.

When setting goals (intentions):

  • identify the purpose and make explicit will be assessed
  • check for hidden barriers to achievement
  • if possible offer students flexible ways to demonstrate understanding
  • if a skill such as “write” is included in the goal, ensure supports such as text-to-speech, graphic organisers, word prediction are offered to all students.

Source: Adapted from Goal-based design and the BC curriculum (opens in a new tab/window)

Share goals in multiple ways

Share goals in multiple ways

Students perceive and make sense of infomation differently.

Present goals in multiple ways to support everyone's understanding.

Co-design authentic goals

Co-design authentic goals

Whenever possible, design learning intentions and flexible pathways to achievement with students.

Reflection questions

Reflection questions

Consider the following in your own context.

  • How can I present learning goals and intentions in varied and flexible ways to support engagement and understanding?
  • How can I make sure students don't confuse the purpose of an activty with the means of achieving it?
  • Do I offer varied, flexible, and supported pathways to success? Give examples.

Useful resources

Useful resources


Top 10 UDL tips for developing learning goals

Publisher: CAST

Download PDF


Goals are separate from the means when possible

Publisher: SET-BC (Special Education Technology British Colu

Visit website

Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “How to plan using UDL”:

Return to the guide “Universal Design for Learning”

Guide to Index of the guide: Universal Design for Learning

Strategies for action: