Designing for Every Learner

Brain Networks for Learning

  • The Recognition Network, which activates to gather and categorize facts through our senses.
  • The Strategic Network, which activates as we organize and express ideas - perhaps through writing a story, painting a picture, composing a song or creating a mathematical equation.
  • The Affective Network, which lights up when we are engaged, challenged and motivated.

Peering inside the human brain at work has also allowed us to see that our brains are as unique as our fingerprints. For this reason, if a teacher wants to create a learning environment where every brain sparkles, he or she needs to ensure there is something for everybody. The secret to doing this is choice, translated into the three principles of Universal Design for Learning:

  1. Multiple means of representation, or multiple ways for students to gather and categorize information through their senses. This can be a mix of print materials, concrete learning objects, video, sound and more.
  2. Multiple means of action and expression. While one student may want to express what they've learned by writing an essay, another may want to produce a film.
  3. Multiple means of engagement. Some students learn best when they're highly excited and the room is hopping with activity. Another may prefer to choose a quiet reflective space.

Learn More

CAST - Universal Design for Learning
Web Resource - CAST - Universal Design for Learning is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn.
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