Hi, Felicia -
Thanks for your post. It sounds like you learned more about accommodations from this course, and were also able to draw on your own past experience with learners. As someone coming from a background in K-12 special education, I had a lot of training around the importance of developing students' self-advocacy and self-determination skills. For a lot of adult learners, they are still working on developing these skills. Like many topics, these lesson can be harder to learn and internalize as we get older, but I agree that many of our learners need coaching and encouragement to really develop these skills and put them into practice, in the classroom, on their jobs, and other areas of their lives.
I'd be interested to hear what you, and other members, use in working with learners to acquire these valuable skills for life.
Career Pathways Moderator
Universal Design for Learning is something that should be the approach for all learners, No two people are alike, even though the majority may be able to learn similarly, not everyone can benefit to the same degree. I think it is imperative to get to know learners, their goals, their learning styles and learning history. As learning facilitators, we may be limited by time and opportunity to assist, so we have to make the best of what we learn from learners in order to make the most flexible, engaging, encouraging and supportive environment possible.
I plan to incorporate ideas to provide flexible opportunities for assessment that allow students to demonstrate their learning in multiple ways. For example, learners can participate in a social studies lesson by a written assessment, oral presentation, making a chart , graph or a drawing to demonstrate learning.
Several students come to mind that had significant intra-individual differences. One student that I worked with was an avid reader with an extensive vocabulary, but could not do basic math. She was referred for testing and diagnosed with dyscalculia. Another student was unable to read. He was a truck driver and relied on universal signs, but could not read city signs. However he could take a motor apart and repair it.
I worked in public school for 2 years as a self-contained special education paraprofessional before completing my degree and working in adult education. I was unaware of the Universal Design method as an official tool. I look forward to learning more about this topic. I believe I have used a type of this design for most of my career unwittingly. One of the most intimidating things about education for me has always been differentiation and inclusion. Teaching test taking strategies, troubleshooting, and problem solving has been my resolution for struggling learners. It has been my experience that many times, if the student can come up with more than one way to look at any given situation, it will help build their confidence on the actual tests.
I did not get much from the initial introduction unit and have to wonder if I missed something here. I spent the majority of the last 2 hours trying to get access and pending approval. It has not been very intuitive to clicks leading me to forward progress. I reset my password at least 4 times. So I will have to get better at navigation of this site before I can share much more on the content.