Date
21 July 2019

Gather knowledge of learners and context

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

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Start with "who" not what

Start with "who" not what

Begin your thinking who learners are and what they bring.

This will "allow the sensitivities of individual learners to drive design decisions" (OECD, 2015).

Walk in learner's shoes

Walk in learner's shoes

Anita describes how she begins her planning thinking about the students not the content or activities.

Knowing learners checklist

Knowing learners checklist

Aim to surface anything that is going to help you design a more relevant, engaging learning experience. 

It will help build connections.

 

Consider:

  • culture, language and identity
  • demographics (age group, local connections and affiliations)
  • learning-related data
  • medical or health conditions
  • knowledge of individual learner preferences, abilities and interests
  • personal connections and relationships
  • wairua, moral, wellbeing and physical health
  • what might be “on top” for learners, e.g. a big performance, sports event, exams.

How to build knowledge

How to build knowledge

There are many different approaches to building an understanding of what’s important to learners and what helps them learn.

  • Short surveys
  • Interviews and intentional conversations
  • Regular check-ins
  • Discussion with whānau
  • Develop a 360 spreadsheet
  • Noticing when students “light up” as learners because they are talking about or working on something they value
  • Learner profiles
  • Offer assignments that allow students to share their experiences and interests
  • Attend extracurricular activities featuring your students
  • Attend an event in your students’ community
  • Opportunities to give feedback on teaching
  • Co-design opportunities where students and teachers design learning together.

The value of knowing learners

The value of knowing learners

Katrina describes how teachers can help her learn. Her recommendations would benefit all learners.

Reflection questions

Reflection questions

  • In what ways do you intentionally get to know learners and what’s important to them?
  • Discuss some examples of how knowledge of learners has influenced the design of teaching and learning.

Source: Adapted from Universal design for learning: Theory and practice (opens in a new tab/window)

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:

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