MURAL - Maynooth University Research Archive Library

    What next for Universal Design for Learning? A systematic literature review of technology in UDL implementations at second level

    Bray, Aibhin and Devitt, Ann and Banks, Joanne and Sanchez Fuentes, Sergio and Sandoval, Marta and Riviou, Katerina and Byrne, Darren and Flood, Margaret and Reale, Jean and Terrenzio, Silvia (2023) What next for Universal Design for Learning? A systematic literature review of technology in UDL implementations at second level. British Journal of Educational Technology. pp. 1-26. ISSN 0007-1013

    Download (2MB) | Preview

    Share your research

    Twitter Facebook LinkedIn GooglePlus Email more...

    Add this article to your Mendeley library


    In the last two decades, there has been a global movement towards pedagogies that create more inclusive school environments in order to meet the needs of diverse learners. One such approach is Universal Design for Learning (UDL), which foregrounds the design of flexible and accessible learning experiences for all, regardless of learner characteristics. Technology is a key enabler in this. To date, much of the research on UDL has focused on its impact in higher education, with less evidence available on the use of UDL within second-level education. This systematic literature review of n = 15 empirical studies selected from a wide-ranging search that returned an initial result of n = 1253 explores how the affordances of digital technology have been harnessed for UDL enactment at second level. The findings show that, to date, empirical research at second level has focused mostly on the easy wins within the UDL principle of Representation, where educators offer choice about how learners access content. However, there is a clear gap in UDL research on the use of technologies to support the Engagement and Action & Expression principles of UDL, supporting student self-regulation and self-assessment, and on technology-mediated communication and collaboration. The paper highlights the potential for future cross-pollination of research in educational technology with UDL. Practitioner Notes What is already known about this topic Universal Design for Learning has been extensively researched in higher education and special education contexts but much less so at K-12, in particular at second level. Technology offers many affordances that can provide choice and variation in the learning process, which can be harnessed in a UDL approach. The transformative potential of technology in educational contexts was not fully realised pre-COVID. The COVID pandemic saw an acceleration in technology adoption for learning, but it remains to be seen whether technology is being deployed to complement or transform existing practices. What this paper adds This paper clearly identifies which affordances of technology are commonly deployed in UDL implementations, particularly noting the provision of choice through multi-media options for Representation and expression. There is a clear gap in UDL research on the use of technologies to support self-regulation and self-assessment, (eg, peer, teacher and automated feedback tools) and on technology-mediated communication and collaboration. The UDL literature does not address the potential negative impacts of technology within the learning context or the short-lived nature of positive impacts (novelty effect). Implications for practice and/or policy While technology affords great opportunities for choice and Engagement, the design of the learning experience must take priority, availing of technology as needed. There are great opportunities for cross-pollination of research at the forefront of educational technology and universal design to address any gaps in technology use in UDL implementations.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: inclusion; second-level education; technology; Universal Design for Learning;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Education
    Item ID: 17423
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Vidatum Academic
    Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2023 14:53
    Journal or Publication Title: British Journal of Educational Technology
    Publisher: Wiley and Sons
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

    Repository Staff Only(login required)

    View Item Item control page


    Downloads per month over past year

    Origin of downloads