Design Principles for Online Learning

Providing students with the best distance learning content in the world would be useless if students can’t find the content or don’t know what to do with it.  That’s where UDL comes in.  UDL is Universal Design for Learning.and its purpose is to remove barriers to learning so that teachers may reach all students.  UDL in the classroom setting UDL might be reflected in a teacher’s use of flexible grouping, clearly posted objectives, and opportunities for movement.  UDL is a pillar of support for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA),  our nation’s foundational education law that was signed by President Obama in 2015 and that applies to all public schools.  When applied to distance learning, UDL can make opportunities for engaging, learning and demonstrating knowledge available to all students.

My design strategy for online learning will first focus on accessibility, to ensure all students know how to find content and how to interact with the content.  Canvas is the Learning Platform used in my district.  In Canvas,  courses can be organized in modules, creating a flow that takes the student through material from beginning to end.  Using modules in a consistent way can guide students through  learning materials so that all students know what they are expected to do, how to get it done, how their work will be assessed, and where to get help (Meeusen, 2018).


Meeusen, K. (2018, June 8). UDL for Module Design [Blog post]. Retrieved from