Universal Design for Learning (UDL): A Content Analysis of Peer Reviewed Journals from 2012 to 2015

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Ahmed Al-Azawei
Fabio Serenelli
Karsten Lundqvist


Abstract: The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach is increasingly drawing attention from researchers and educators as a possible solution to promote content accessibility and fill the gap between learner abilities and individual differences. This study aims to analyse the content of a set of peer-reviewed papers published from 2012 to 2015, where UDL framework was applied. We selected 12 studies from different databases and journals depending on 4 criteria: peer-reviewed journals, papers with empirical results, papers that focused on UDL as a framework, and the publication date. These studies were, therefore, categorised into seven themes: type of results, study beneficiary (learners, teachers, both), sample features, geographical region, data collection techniques, data analysis techniques, and learning mode. Most of the selected studies tested the framework in a traditional or a blended learning mode, whereas only one study evaluated its effectiveness in a pure online learning. Positive results were yielded in 9 out of 12 papers, but the majority of them were implemented in the USA. Thus, more research is required in diverse cultural contexts and learning modes to confirm the soundness of this instructional model on learning outcomes and learner experience. Additionally, UDL application in online learning may represent a promising solution to design a flexible learning environment from the start which responds to a wide mix of learner needs, abilities, background knowledge, educational experiences, and cultural differences.


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Al-Azawei, A., Serenelli, F., & Lundqvist, K. (2016). Universal Design for Learning (UDL): A Content Analysis of Peer Reviewed Journals from 2012 to 2015. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 16(3), 39-56. https://doi.org/10.14434/josotl.v16i3.19295