Introduction to Multiple Means of Action and Expression
Think of all the different ways in which learners express their understanding and skills in the online learning environment. Think beyond just assessments.
The Action and Expression principle examines ways to support the variability with which learners navigate a learning environment and express what they have learned. Just as we discovered with the other two UDL principles, learners differ in the ways that they can express what they value, know, and can do. Learners communicate optimally in certain modalities depending on the context and learning materials. There is no singular means of action and expression that will be optimal for all learners in all contexts. As such, providing various options for action and expression is essential for responding to the needs and talents of the widest range of learners possible.
Action and expression also require strategy, practice, and organization, which are other areas in which learners can differ. The Multiple Means of Action and Expression principle (the “how” of learning) helps us provide options and supports so everyone can learn, create, and share in ways that work for them. The essential goal of this principle is to facilitate the growth of strategic, goal-directed, lifelong learning skills. This video reviews the part of the UDL framework that considers the Action and Expression principle.
UDL Introduction Multiple Means of Action and Expression
>> Hello, everyone. In this video we are going to focus in on the ‘how’ of learning and the principal called multiple means of action and expression. Although this principle is presented as our last or third principle, there really is no hierarchy amongst them. They're all interconnected and overlap in different ways. This principle is all about activating the strategic networks at the front of the brain. The action and expression principle focuses on supporting learners in expressing, planning, organizing and being goal-directed and strategic.
As you can see, there are three guidelines, of course. The UDL framework loves to work in threes. At the access level at the very top, the guideline is creating options for physical action. This provides a prompt to educators to consider if their learners can navigate the physical environment, tools, and assistive technologies. When we consider assessment, we see how the principles overlap at the access level. For example, at the access level, when we create assessments for action and expression, we have to recruit interest in the assessment; ensure we offer multiple options for perception through representation; and of course, ensure all learners can physically access and perform the assessment. The physical action guideline prompts us to vary the methods for response and navigation and optimize access to tools and assistive technologies.
At the build level, we consider multiple options for learners to express what they value, know and can do. Some questions we can ask include: do learners have many ways to solve the problem instead of just one? And do they have multiple opportunities to practice? Are we providing formative assessment and scaffolding for learners to fully express what they value, know and can do? The expression and communication guideline includes the following check points: Use multimedia for communication. Use multiple tools for construction and composition. And build fluencies with graduated levels of support for practice and performance.
At the final level, the internalized level, we are providing options for different executive functioning skills. Some prompts to consider as we plan for our learning environments include: are learners’ goals appropriately challenging? Do learners know how to plan strategically? Are they given opportunities to practice this? Are learners being helped in managing their learning? And do they know if they are improving or not? The executive functions guideline offers the following checkpoints: guide appropriate goal setting; support planning and strategy development; and facilitate managing information and resources; and enhance capacity for monitoring progress.
We are always moving towards that ultimate goal of fostering expert learning and to that end, multiple means of action and expression focuses on the goal of becoming strategic and goal-directed. As students develop their expert learning, they can extend these skills into other and future areas of study.
Introduction to Multiple Means of Action and Expression - Runtime 3:43 min
The Multiple Means of Action and Expression principle consists of three main guidelines:
- options for physical action,
- options for expression and communication, and
- options for executive function.