Friday, November 27, 2015

Universal Design for Learning: Top Ten Tips (beginners)

A colleague recently asked me for my top ten tips to introduce people easily to Universal Design for Learning, now we know that the ultimate goal is to ensure multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement, but we have to start somewhere, and here it is:

Universal Design for Learning: Top Ten Tips to Begin With

1. Use a minimum of 14pt font size where possible in all documents, and justify the text to the left margin only.

2. Colour the document backgrounds with off-white/cream (for PowerPoints and other documents), and for handouts print out on cream paper if possible.

3. Try to break sentences into short readable units

4. Explain new terms when you first use them (consider creating a glossary)

5. Use bullet points, or better yet numbers, rather than long passages of prose

6. Include Pictures and Graphics to support text (e.g. flowcharts) and get students as an activity to create their own graphics/visuals for your topic

7. Make sure all handouts and notes are available well in advance of class

8. Try to break large documents (PowerPoints, Word docs, etc.) into multiple smaller documents, or at least create clear section breaks, and make the documents available to the students in a format that allows them to alter font size, type and colour (e.g. avoid providing PDF files)

9. Avoid Idioms, colloquialisms, and figurative language; also avoid examples that are too culturally specific, or gender biased

10. Consider using a font kind to people with dyslexia, so stick with sans serif fonts such as Arial, Comic Sans, Verdana, Tahoma or Sassoon. Also check if fonts like OpenDyslexic and Dyslexie help. 

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