Experience-Based UDL Applications: Overcoming Barriers to Learning


The overall purpose of this study was to examine the autobiographical memory narrative as a way for graduate teacher candidates (TCs) to learn to identify (1) barriers to learning, (2) Universal Design for Learning (UDL) checkpoints to remove these barriers, and (3) strategies for addressing the UDL checkpoints and removing these barriers. This phenomenological study explored lived experiences of (a) UDL training in the graduate teacher preparation programs, (b) barriers to learning in the past experience, and (c) application of UDL principles to removing the self-identified barriers to learning among graduate TCs. Having a purposeful criterion sample at a site level to explore central phenomena in the study (Creswell & Poth, 2018), participants in the study included 63 graduate TCs in a teacher certification program at a university in the north eastern region of the United States. The participants dually took roles as a student, who identified barriers to their learning from the past experience, and as a teacher, who applied UDL principles to removing those self-identified barriers. Data were collected through each participant’s autobiographical narrative about (i) their past learning experience at any point in K-16 education, (ii) barrier to their own learning experience in the past, and (iii) UDL application to removing the identified learning barriers. Data were analyzed to identify frequency of barriers and types of strategies to remove these barriers across participants. Discussion includes identified (1) barriers to learning, (2) UDL checkpoints, and (3) strategies to apply the identified UDL checkpoints to removing these barriers. Emerging themes were aligned with the UDL guidelines (2018)

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This paper was published in International Journal of Instruction.

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