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Universal Design for Learning
Equity Education and Anti-Oppression Frameworks

Designing for Maximum Participation

UDL is an approach to curriculum that minimizes barriers and maximizes learning for all students. UDL helps to nurture the potential of every single individual by designing equitable learning environments.

One way we can explore how to design for inclusion and engagement is through the example of the Rubik’s CubeOpens in a new window.

Rubik’s Original Cube has 3x3 coloured squares on each side of the cube. The object of this game is to move the squares so all the squares of a single colour are on one side of the cube. That is, one side has all 9 (3x3) squares in blue, one side all red, one side all yellow, etc.
Rubik’s Braille Cube has 3x3 white squares with braille on them. The object of the game is to align all the squares with the same braille pattern on one side of the cube.

Accessibility as an Afterthought

The Rubik’s Cube with BrailleOpens in a new window is a solution that is accessible because a blind student could use it, but it is not universally designed.

Is this truly inclusive and celebratory of individual variabilityOpens in a new window?

Is there a version that would allow blind and low-vision students and sighted students to learn together?

The Rubik’s Touch Cube. This cube has 9 squares (3x3) on each side. The squares are different colours (blue, red, white, etc.) and also have elevated surfaces that represent different shapes (circle, triangle, etc.). The shapes are colour-coded. For example, the x shape is always orange. This allows both sighted and non-sighted people to engage with it.

Applying Universal Design

The Rubik’s Touch CubeOpens in a new window has both colours and textures. Both sighted and blind students can use the same device.


Can you think of another dimension to enhance the usability of the Rubik’s Cube even more? (Hint: Think of other areas of human variability.) How does this example challenge the way we have historically responded to learner variability?

UDL requires a paradigm shift, moving away from designing for the average and towards a more inclusive and responsive curriculumOpens in a new window. It invites us to examine the ways in which we unconsciously support systems that enable and reinforce barriers to equitable learning opportunities, along with strategies to minimize those barriers (CAST, 2020).

Next sectionThe Social Model of Disability