The principles of Universal Design are based on teaching to all students regardless of their individual processing styles or characteristics (CAST, 2014). As individuals process information differently, the need arises for multiple means of accessing course materials. By using varying combinations of textual and multimedia materials, students are exposed to new material in different ways, allowing them to learn optimally.
As advantageous as multi-modal material may be, it’s primary purpose – communication, may be lost if the material is not perceptually, physically, or cognitively accessible to students. Therefore we need to keep usability of the online environment in mind, respect all types of learners; including those with different processing styles and physical attributes.
Many students may not share the same cognitive, perceptual, and physiological schemas as ours, and will require assistance through assistive technologies. Assistive technologies are translators, as it were, of the material you prepare. Your online course material needs to be comprehendible by the technology in order to be comprehendible to students that need it to understand the lessons you prepare.
© 2009 California State University
Concept and design by the Center for Distributed Learning