Rethinking Higher Education Unit Design: Embedding Universal Design for Learning in Online Studies
Inclusive education in Australia has resulted in a concerted push for the differentiation of pedagogical teaching approaches by educators across Kindergarten to Year 12 (K-12) learning environments. Such approaches have been shown to meet a diverse range of learner needs found in today's classrooms. While progress is evident at the primary and secondary levels of education, implementing effective inclusive practices in higher education appears stagnant. Utilising the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in a fully online pre-service teacher training unit, multiple means of representation of the learning content and multiple means of engagement were explicitly incorporated into the online unit design. This approach aimed to proactively support the engagement of all students in an online teaching and learning environment. This study provides preliminary evidence that the application of UDL principles resulted in higher levels of student engagement and lower rates of student attrition.