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Inclusive Library Instruction: UDL Guidelines

Action items and suggestions for inclusive teaching in the library classroon.


Autonomy - Choices in how an objective can be reached

Example: allow learners to participate in the design of classroom activities and tasks, such as letting students choose search terms when demonstrating how to search.

Relevance, Value, and Authenticity - learners are more engaged with information and activities that are relevant and valuable to their interests and goals.

Example: using culturally or socially relevant examples in instruction, or inviting personal responses after active learning tasks, asking questions such as what search terms did you use? What resources did you find? etc.

Reduce threats and distractions - threats and distractions are individual to the learner but can be things like sensory stimulation or language experimentation (for English language learners).

Example: including an agenda or schedule reassures predictability for students, varying time/pace of tasks, having breaks, etc.



Customize information display - Display information in a flexible format

Example: font for print materials, digital materials where size can be customized, colours used for emphasis, contrast between text and background, etc.

Alternatives for auditory information - Sound is not equally accessible for all learners, those with hearing disabilities, those that need time to process information, or those that have memory difficulties.

Example: use text equivalents, provide visuals such as diagrams, charts, descriptions, etc.

Alternatives for visual information - some learners may have low vision, or learners may not be familiar with certain graphics being used. 

Example: provide written or spoken descriptions, provide physical objects, provide auditory cues for concepts and transitions, provide text to speech options following accessibility standards.

Clarify vocabulary and symbols - certain elements of information are differentially accessible to learners from varying backgrounds, languages, and lexical knowledge. Provide alternative representation of meaning where possible.

Example: explain library jargon (e.g. discovery search, truncation, etc.), idioms and culturally exclusive phrases can be translated or explained with visuals.



What is UDL?

UDL stands for Universal Design for Learning. The framework aims to improve teaching and learning. These guidelines have been developed based on scientific insights into how people learn. There are three main concepts in UDL: Engagement, Representation, and Action & Expression.

Action & Expression

Vary methods of response and navigation - reduce barriers to learning by providing alternative means for responding, selecting, and composition.

Example: provide alternatives for timing required to interact with materials, provide alternatives for using a mouse, a pen, a keyboard, etc.

Access to tools and assistive technologies - provide learners with support to use tools effectively.

Example: provide alternate keyboard commands or mouse action, use software that works with keyboard alternatives and alt keys


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