Universal Design in Teaching and Learning

Duration 25 hours


Implementation of universal design principles in Teaching & Learning promotes inclusivity and equity while also ‘future-proofing’ your teaching.

As our classrooms and lecture theatres become increasingly diverse, our practices must also adapt to reflect the changing landscape of higher education. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an educational framework based on research in the learning sciences,  including cognitive neuroscience, which guides the development of flexible learning environments that can accommodate individual learning differences and cater for the wide range of diversity in our lecture rooms. This CPD course will give you an introduction to the concept of Universal Design for Learning and invite you to review and update your own Teaching and Learning practice.

You’ll Learn to

  • Reflect on the Diversity of Students in their Institutions
  • Gain a good understanding of the Universal Design for Learning framework and how it can support diverse learners
  • Redesign some elements of their teaching and learning practice based on their knowledge of UDL principles
  • Consider how they will change their practice more broadly in line with a UDL approach

On earning your open badge award for this course, you will have achieved further recognition in the following domains of the National Professional Development Framework for Staff who Teach:

  • Domain 3 Professional Communication and Dialogue emphasises the importance of excellent, clear and coherent communication skills within the changing learning environment.
  • Domain 4 Professional Knowledge and Skills ensures the individual remains current in terms of their professional/disciplinary knowledge and can implement teaching, learning and assessment approaches which promote active learning and are underpinned by a strong evidence base.
  • Domain 5 Personal and Professional Digital Capacity recognises explicitly that we live and work in a digital world, and that teachers must develop digital skills that allow them to harness the potential of technology for learning impact.

Course Developers

This open course has been developed by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education in partnership with:

Ann Heelan

AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability

Dara Ryder

AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability

Lisa Padden

University College Dublin

Enroll in this Course

Facilitator Led

Learn as part of a group in an upcoming facilitator led programme


Facilitator-led courses run at different times throughout the year and result in a digital badge. Some are entirely online, some are blended, and others face-to-face. Additional facilitator training may be provided so that you can later facilitate your own open course.


This Oct-Dec, AHEAD and UCD Access & Lifelong Learning are collaborating to present the Digital Badge for Universal Design in Teaching and Learning in a fully online format. This free introductory course, running from Oct 2nd – Dec 11th, is strictly for staff in Higher Education or Further Education and Training in the Republic of Ireland. This year, with the collaboration of trained UDL badge facilitators, they aim to serve 1,500 participants simultaneously in both FET and HE sectors, marking the largest national UDL CPD initiative ever in Ireland.

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Developer Materials (OER)

All materials generated during the development of this open course have been created (or adapted, subject to licence permissions) for use under a CC BY-NC 4.0 licence as open education resources (OER).

Individuals are free to use, share, repurpose, and remix this material. Materials may include face-to-face workshop materials and eLearning materials.

Important: Individuals are required to hold an open course facilitator badge to be eligible to issue open course badges. Learn more