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Guiding Information Processing and Visualization in Universal Design for Learning

Guiding information processing and visualization is a universal design for learning (UDL) guideline that supports multiple means of representation. The UDL guidelines were developed by an organization called CAST. This article will explore how teachers and other educators can help a variety of learners remember and organize information.

Guiding information processing and visualization in Universal Design for Learning

Guiding information processing and visualization means helping learners acquire skills for processing or organizing the information they are studying. For instance, learners should know how to organize information in different ways, including:

  • Summaries
  • Categories

These organizational strategies will help learners:

Teachers can use many strategies for guiding information processing and visualization. For instance, teachers can point out when learners should follow steps in order. For example, learners solving algebraic equations need to follow a specific “order of operations” known by the acronym BEDMAS:

  • Brackets
  • Exponents
  • Multiplication or division
  • Addition or subtraction

Furthermore, teachers can present learners with models they can interact with to enhance their knowledge. For instance, a teacher can guide learners through an example equation and state which step they are following at each stage of the solution.

Alternatively, other types of information can be organized in multiple ways. As a result, teachers should show learners different methods for organizing information, such as arranging data points in charts or graphs.

Chunking Information

Moreover, teachers can “chunk” information into small sections. For example, teachers can chunk information with:

Chunking content is most often used at the level of the lesson. Comparably, at the unit level, teachers can reveal information in manageable modules, instead of all at once. For example, in an online course, teachers could publish course content one or two (1-2) modules at a time.

On the other hand, learners can study other types of content in any order. For example, a literature teacher may screen a film in class after learners have studied the book the film is based on. While some learners appreciate this order, others might understand the book better if they view the film first. Therefore, the teacher could invite learners to view the film either before or after they read the book. Instead of spending time in class watching the film, the teacher would have more time for analysis and discussion.

Teachers should scaffold use of all these strategies. In other words, learners may at first need reminders about how best to organize and process information. While some learners will always use these reminders, others will need fewer reminders as they gain skill in information processing and organization.

Finally, teachers should minimize distractions so that learners can concentrate on information processing as they study.