When you plan a road trip, you know you might run into detours or roadblocks that get in the way of reaching your destination. Some of those barriers are predictable, like traffic, road work, or bad weather. Knowing and anticipating those barriers can help you plan your trip so you can still get to your destination.
Classroom lessons are no different. There will be barriers that prevent students from reaching the intended learning goals. Just like with a road trip, some of those barriers are predictable and can be reduced by careful planning and design. Identifying barriers in curricular goals, assessments, methods, and materials will help students gain the skills they need to become expert learners.
What Are Barriers to Learning?
Barriers to learning are where students “get stuck” in a lesson or activity. For each student, barriers can differ from subject to subject and from activity to activity. A core tenet of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is to anticipate and address those barriers up front. You can do that by designing flexible lessons and learning environments rather than trying to “fix” or change a student.
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