Addressing Diversity through Inquiry-based Learning (IBL) and Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

MQF Level: 6

ECTS Value: 4 ECTS

Self Study Hours: 50

Contact Hours: 20

Assessment Hours: 30


Overall Objectives and Outcomes

Today’s classrooms are characterised by learners’ diversity. As human beings we are all unique and highly variable. As educators we are constantly challenged by the myth of ‘the average learner’. Learners are different in their own unique way and therefore there is no average learner. As educators we have to be able to predict and respond to variability among learners through more flexible and versatile learning environments. Consequently, it becomes pivotal to provide a learning context based upon the three dimensions of systematic variability, being:

  1. Differences in the ways in which learners acquire information through multiple representations;
  2. Differences in the way learners will act upon resources and show what they know
  3. Differences in the way learners engage with resources in their learning.

This module is designed to equip participants with the ability to evaluate, create, and recreate lesson plans that ensure the engagement and participation of diverse learners within a high standards-based curriculum.

By the end of this programme, participants should be able to:


a. Acknowledge and address learner variability in the classroom;

b. Develop lessons through the UDL lens using the UDL guidelines;

c. Implement IBL to guide and enhance teaching and learning practices;

d. Identify goals, methods, resources and assessment that provide flexibility in order to address learner variability;

e. Reflect on their own practice and review according to UDL principles and guidelines based on an understanding of learner variability;

f. Determine questions to guide their professional development and training through a UDL lens to best meet the needs of all learners.


a. Understand learner variability;

b. Master knowledge of the theory and research basis for UDL and IBL;

c. Use knowledge on different brain networks and how these impact learning;

d. Distinguish between multiple means of representations, multiple means of action and expression and multiple means of engagement;

e. Understand how to provide multiple means of representations, multiple means of action and expression and multiple means of engagement;

f. Understand the concept of self-regulated learning.


a. Identify barriers to learning;

b. Create goals, methods, resources and assessment that address learner variability;

c. Use the UDL guidelines;

d. Plan lessons according to UDL principles;

e. Develop practices based on IBL;

f. Provide support in the environment to promote self-regulated learning.

Assessment Methods

This module will be assessed through: Reflective Portfolio

Suggested Readings

Core Reading List
  1. CAST (2018). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.2.
  2. Meyer, A., Rose, D.H. and Gordon, D. (2016). UDL Theory to Practice. Wakefield, MA:Cast Publishing.
  3. Novack, K. (2016). UDL Now. Wakefield, MA: CAST Publishing.
  4. Ralabate, P. K. (2016). Your UDL Lesson Planner. Baltimore, MD:Brooks Publishing.
  5. Watt, J.G. & Colyer, J. (2013). IQ: A Practical Guide to Inquiry Based Learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Supplementary Reading List
  1. Blessinger, P. & Carfora, J.M. (eds) (2015). Inquiry-based Learning for Multidisciplinary Programs. A Conceptual and Practical Resource for Educators. Bingley: Emerald.
  2. Booth, C. (2011). Reflective Teaching Effective Learning: Instructional Literacy for Library Educators. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.
  3. Brophy, J.E. (2010). Motivating Students to Learn (3rd). New York, NY: Routledge.
  4. Chitman-Booker, L. and Kopp, K. (2013). The 5 Es of Inquiry-based Science. Huntington Beach,CA: Shell Education.
  5. Gordon, D.T., Gravel, J.W., and Schifter, L.A. (2009). A policy reader in universal design for learning (pp.5-18) Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.
  6. Hall, T., Vue, G., Strangman, N., & Meyer, A. (2003). Differentiated instruction and implications for UDL implementation. Wakefield, MA: National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum.
  7. MacKenzie, T. (2014) Dive into Inquiry. Irvine, CA: EdTechTeam Press.
  8. Meo, (2008). Curriculum planning for all learners; applying universal design for learning (UDL) to a high school reading comprehension program. Preventing School Failure 52(2), 21-30. Wakefield, MA: National Centre on UDL.
  9. Olson, K. (2009). Wounded by School. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
  10. Rebora, A. (2014) Learning by Universal Design. available online
  11. Spooner, F.; Baker, N.; Harris, A.A.; Ahlgrim-Delzell, L. & Browder, D.M. (2007) Effects of Training in Universal Design for Learning on Lesson Plan Development. Remedial and Special Education 28 (2) pp.108-116.
  12. Wu, Xiuwen. (2010). Universal Design for Learning: A Collaborative Framework for Designing Inclusive Curriculum. e.: inquiry in education: Vol. 1 (2) Article 6.
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