Shaw, Carr-Chellman, and Choi (2017) undertake a qualitative study on Universal Design for Learning (UDL). UDL is an adult learning architecture that focuses on collaboration, inclusion and accessibility in online and distant classroom environments. The key words of the study are UDL, accessibility, online learning, epistemology, and adult learners. The researchers boast that UDL is a holistic approach that offers online and distant education for all adult learners, which includes the learners in lower socio-economic status, students with cultural or language barriers, and students that are disabled. No learner is left behind in UDL. As such, UDL focuses on the importance of learning in terms of “learner’s needs and desires through the inclusion of real-life tasks and an understanding of the importance of flexibility” (p. 21). UDL allows all learners’ a forum of various way of approaching learning, knowledge acquisition and self-regulation through collaboration and communication in an online and distant learning environment. UDL is a teaching-learning strategy that engages and motivates all teachers and learners to seek deep learning and to enhance cognitive skills through social and communicative interaction. The researchers also equate UDL to such topics as justice, epistemology and practice. With justice, the researchers associate UDL with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. With epistemology, UDL makes the learning experience more holistic and learner-centered. Finally, with practice, UDL helps to recognize and associate patterns with expression and engagement.


In evaluating this study, I think it was a useful source of information because the researchers focus was on using UDL as an inclusive methodology to represent, express and engage all adult learners to achieve higher education in online or distant education. UDL does not discriminate based on age, sex, creed or color or religion. UDL provides an online learning platform for all adult learners. UDL, in general, could help researchers overcome barriers of discrimination in adult learning through flexibility and practicing of different ways of online learning for adult learners. Such different ways of learning could be through means of audio, oral, graphics or visual means of learning. The overall goal of this source of information was to include “all” adult learners and to motivate them to pursue continuous and life cycle learning in a knowledge economy via online and distant learning.


Even though the study lacks a methodology or research design, Shaw et al. (2017) did a scholarly job on applying UDL to a course description and demonstrating the effects of collaboration and communication in a teaching-learning transaction. This study is highly reflective because it leaves no learner behind. This study view scholarship through the lens of the lower socio-economic class and disabled. It also looks at scholarship as a one sized design curriculum that fits all learners. This study is replicable if it would include participants in an experimental design-based study with learners from all walks of life. For example, a researcher could set up an experimental design-based study with an integration of students from academia, students from a lower socio-economic status, and disabled students. The independent variable would be instruction, and the dependent variables would be the effects on learning and types of instruction. The data analysis would compare the effects of learning benefits both collectively and individually. The optimal outcome would be that each student, given a fair chance of critical literature and perspective, would achieve the same learning outcome regardless of age, creed, color or race.

Rogers-Shaw, C., Carr-Chellman, D. d., & Choi, J. (2018). Universal Design for Learning: Guidelines for Accessible Online Instruction. Adult Learning, 29(1), 20-31.

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