That is, the product or environment is designed in such a way that it satisfies the needs of a variety of users including those who are physically disabled.
The Center for Universal Design (CUD) at the North Carolina State University established seven principles for UD (Burgstahler, 2009), which provides the basis for all applications of UD including for instructional purposes. These form a general architectural paradigm and are listed in the table below.
By applying the general principles of UD to teaching, we can derive guidelines for instruction to students, which are called UDI. The CUD defines UDI as “the design of instruction to be usable by all students, without the need for adaptation or specialized design”. A prominent figure that applied UD principles to education was Frank Bowe (2000). A related concept is Universal Design for Learning (UDL), which the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) defines as “a framework for designing curricula that enables all individuals to gain knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm for learning”.
Thus, the classroom environment, curriculum, instructional materials and procedures, facilities etc. can all be designed in a way that they fulfill the needs of a variety of students. The students may have a range of abilities, learning styles, and backgrounds and this includes disabled students especially. There are two further benefits of UDI: one is that it minimizes the need to arrange for accommodating students with special needs, and another is that specific features of the UDI benefit not only the type of students for which it is intended but also others. For example, captioning in instructional videos is done to help the deaf but other students can also derive benefit.
CAST clarifies that by being universal, it is not intended that the instruction be suitable for every type of learner; rather, “it is meant to underscore the need