Research Priorities

Summary of Pre-conference Meeting

At the 2017 UDL Summit, the UDL-IRN Research Committee and CAST hosted a research preconference.  Approximately 30 participants convened to discuss issues for UDL research. Participants worked in small groups to discuss issues and develop next steps for UDL research.

The four work groups topics were:

  1. Operationalization and application of UDL
  2. Instruments and tools for measurement
  3. Teacher Education/Professional Development
  4. Tools, technologies, resources

Below, we summarize key points that emerged from each workgroup and next steps identified by each group. Each workgroup will continue to work on ideas and products related to their workgroup’s discussion.

Image shows a group around a desk with computers, notebooks, and charts.
Image shows a woman presenting data in front of a whiteboard.
Image shows a group of people working on a whiteboard.

Workgroup #1: Operationalization and Application of UDL + Student Outcomes

Key issues:

  • How was UDL used/applied? Clearly stating how principles/guidelines/checkpoints were used.
  • Variability and flexibility are key to the framework; what about accessibility?
  • We need to be careful not to be reductionist; think about it as a process of applying/designing with UDL to reduce barriers
  • Need to know what is effective; clarity on student outcomes in relation to UDL application

Outcomes/Next Steps:

  • Begin a conversation about quality standards needed to make a UDL claim
  • Compile info on a UDL-IRN Research Team – people available to conduct research/program eval (e.g. at a system level)

Workgroup #2: Measurement

Key issues:

  • Measurement of UDL must account for the complexity of the construct and the specificity of the context of application.
  • There must be fidelity and intentionality in the application of UDL before it may be measured. (This hinges on a shared understanding of operationalization.)
  • There is risk that the development of a measure will guide the design rather than the learning objective guiding the design. Measures must enable dynamic design to the extent possible.

Outcomes/Next Steps:

  • UDL-IRN website – create a webpage of instruments and measures
  • Paper on the observed pitfalls of UDL measurement

Workgroup #3: Teacher PD & Preparation

Key issues:

  • Models (practices, places, resources)
  • Embedding researchers (action research) within stakeholders (teachers, administrators, parents, students)
  • Inclusive of all necessary components
    • context/content mastery–>planning/implementation/reflection = sustainability
  • Systems practices, documentation, etc. (state, district, school level)
  • Teacher Preparation
  • Teaching UDL vs. Modeling UDL

Outcomes/Next Steps:

  • Identifying essential components of teacher preparation and teacher training – what is necessary to teach people in order for implementation to be effective.
  • Training of district people as action researchers (create a curriculum with/for UDL-IRN)

Workgroup #4: Tools, Technology, and Resources

Key issues:

  • What’s on the horizon?
    • VR/AR, Games, Mobile learning, Google chrome, Automation, Wearables, Robots, Video, LMSs, AI
    • Online learning, Sensors, Cloud, Social Networking
  • 2. NMC Report
  • 3.National Education Technology Plan

Outcomes/Next Steps:

  • Prospectus for a peer-reviewed book

The following paper provides a thorough discussion of these outcomes. Smith, S., Rao, K., Lowrey, K., Gardner, J., Moore, E., Coy, K., Marino, M., & Wojcik, B. (2019). Recommendations for a National Research Agenda in UDL: Outcomes From the UDL-IRN Preconference on Research. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 30(3), 174-185.