Introducing LUDIA! Your AI-Powered UDL Partner
Universal Design for Learning + Artificial Intelligence
by Beth Stark and Jérémie Rostan
“What’s new? Who’s new? I can’t wait to see the students!” Every school year starts with an enormous wave of enthusiasm and curiosity that, if we pace ourselves, can carry us straight into the midterm. This year, the answer to the first question, “What’s new?” is obvious; AI. The “wow factor” of AI is undeniable, and many of us have already tapped into the endless ways that AI can increase our efficiency. But the impact of AI integration can go far beyond content creation and quick fixes when we leverage it to amplify inclusive learning design and excellent pedagogical practice.
Could AI be a catalyst to create the conditions for every learner to become an expert learner? For many schools, implementing UDL is already a driving force for designing engaging, agentic, and accessible learning and learning spaces. Universal Design for Learning is both a method and a lens, based on the neuroscience of learning, that supports the systematic identification and reduction of barriers while maintaining high standards for all learners (Meyer, Rose & Gordon, 2014). Today, UDL is an essential driver of inclusive pedagogical practice worldwide as we work to honour the explicit guidance of the United Nations “to adopt the universal design for learning approach, which comprises a set of principles providing teachers and other staff with a structure for creating adaptable learning environments and developing instruction to meet the diverse needs of all learners.” (UNCRPD Article 24, General Comment No. 4, 2016).
As lifelong learners, many educators face hurdles in developing their capacity as UDL implementers:
“UDL feels like one more thing, and I am not even sure where to start.”
“I already have a lot of demands on my time.”
“It sounds great, but how do you do Universal Design for Learning?”
Responses like these are common and, we have to say, valid. A trifecta of barriers can get in the way of tapping into Universal Design for Learning: context, complexity, and readiness to leap over the great “knowing-doing” divide.
In our quest to quell this trifecta, we have leveraged the power of machine learning, natural language processing, and generative AI to create an accessible pathway for connecting the Universal Design for Learning framework to designing instruction and learning spaces…
Partnering with LUDIA gives instructional designers a new way to think through, adapt, and plan for challenges that create barriers for the learners in their care. Poe (Platform for Open Exploration), developed by Quora using Open AI, has made the power of complex technology accessible for creators and users alike. LUDIA provides valuable insights and options that apply to each unique learning context based on the UDL Framework. By doing so, LUDIA will become your partner in ongoing professional learning about UDL, and support educators in making meaningful progress towards our shared goal of reaching and empowering all learners!
The UDL Mindset Shift
Universal Design for Learning is more than a framework and a method; it is also a lens. Beyond the specifics cited in checkpoints, UDL asks us to examine and unlearn mindsets about learning we may have internalised. Partnering with LUDIA gives us a new way to identify and reduce barriers in instructional design, and it also reinforces a key mindset: barriers do not originate in the learner. When we focus on strengths and embrace learner variability, we create space to identify and reduce barriers in the learning design and environment.
LUDIA is there to replace feelings of overwhelm with a sense of what is possible for all learners; and the adaptable barrier-reducing options Ludia offers are in response to their unique context and within their circle of influence as learning designers.
The AI Mindset Shift
LUDIA also invites us to envision problems of practice, not so much as problems, but as puzzles to solve. Although LUDIA suggests potential explanations and strategies, connections happen in the creative back-and-forth, the subsequent tinkering and tweaking, evaluating, and adapting for learners and the unique context in question. Through this process, educators will grow through professional play, develop their competencies as learning designers, and notably, their mastery of AI for learning. Contrary to what one might expect, this does not mean acquiring technical skills, such as “prompt-engineering”, but developing an understanding for how to best use AI for accessing excellent pedagogical practice, and how it can help us grow as educators. The main idea here is that AI can certainly enhance, but not replace, our thinking as educators; an important lesson to share with our learners.
Part of this AI mindset means moving forward with the knowledge that LUDIA retains all the limitations of generative AI. The richest learning happens when LUDIA's responses serve as scaffolds and entry points. Educators will benefit when they engage in analysing and adapting the provisional options LUDIA is ready to offer.
We invite you to try LUDIA and see how they can support you in identifying and removing learning barriers. Beyond this tool, we envision a movement and we are creating online spaces for educators to share their stories, successes, and recommendations.
Accessing LUDIA without limits, for free, forever, is possible at: https://bit.ly/LUDIA_FYI
If you would like to connect with us about LUDIA, please email: email@example.com.
You can also share your story about how LUDIA helped you to reduce learning barriers by completing this short survey: https://bit.ly/LUDIA_StoryShare.
CAST (2017). UDL Tips for Fostering Expert Learners. Wakefield, MA. Retrieved from https://www.cast.org/products-services/resources/2017/udl-tips-fostering-expert-learners.
Drake, Allan. “POE AI.” Quora, 5 Feb. 2023, https://poeai.quora.com/.
Meyer, A., Rose, D.H. & Gordon, D. (2014). Universal design for learning: Theory and Practice. Wakefield, MA: CAST Professional Publishing.
Organization, International Baccalaureate. “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement.” International Baccalaureate®, https://www.ibo.org/about-the-ib/diversity-equity-inclusion/#:~:text=The%20IB%20will%20embrace%20diversity,and%20as%20an%20educational%20organization.
“PZ’s Thinking Routines Toolbox.” Project Zero, https://pz.harvard.edu/thinking-routines.
United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. (2016, November 25). Article 24, General comment No. 4 (2016) on the right to inclusive education. United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner. https://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/crpd/pages/gc.aspx.