Skip to main content Skip to main menu

Illustrating through Multiple Media in Universal Design for Learning

Illustrating through multiple media 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 use different types of media to support a variety of learners.

Illustrating through multiple media in Universal Design for Learning

Illustrating through multiple media means presenting textual information in other ways, such as:

  • Images
  • Illustrations
  • Photographs
  • Diagrams
  • Charts
  • Animations
  • Comic strips
  • Story boards
  • Videos
  • Simulations that learners can move physically or virtually
  • Interactive graphics
  • Models
  • Movement or dance

While some of these formats include minimal text, all of them convey concepts through visual placement or tactile movement rather than written words. Text may be inaccessible to some learners, who will always use other methods of access, including alternatives for visuals. In contrast, other learners may benefit from viewing information in both text and non-text formats.

Teachers can use many strategies for illustrating through multiple media. For example, teachers can present key concepts in both text and non-text formats, such as:

  • A paragraph and a graph
  • A textbook chapter and a video

Similarly, teachers can use presentation materials that include text and non-text formats. For example, a teacher could display a slideshow reinforcing key information with images and video clips. Furthermore, teachers can point out connections between text and non-text representations of information. For example, a teacher might assign a reading, then perform an experiment based on the reading. At each stage of the experiment, the teacher could reference the reading. In this way, learners could connect the text they have read to the experiment they are witnessing.

Moreover, teachers should ensure that visual formats are presented in tactile or auditory ways. For example, some learners may need to touch models, rather than look at them. Similarly, diagrams can also be reproduced in tactile ways. Likewise, videos should include audio description.