Visual Literacy and Universal Design


I selected a sample page of the curriculum I help to develop at an educational resource company.  Lohr (2008) stated, “the goals of universal design focus on making information and learning accessible in the broader sphere of life for all people” (p. 8).  I think these building plans help to provide performance support (p. 6) to instructors and students.  In the sample, color-coded parts and arrows are added to provide instructions for building simple mechanical devices used to teach various STEM concepts.  This method of visual literacy (p. 5) to provide instruction enables various types of learners to be able to successfully complete the building of projects in our kits.  Rather than only showing a completed model for students to copy, steps are broken down in an order that helps novice builders be successful.  According to CAST (2012), universal design for learning is necessary because “individuals bring a huge variety of skills, needs, and interests to learning.”

Occasionally, text is used to provide tips to students but its use is not required.  The color-coded order follows that of a rainbow.  A reminder of the color order is provided at the top of each page of building instructions.  Parts in real-color are also provided on the left-side of each step so students have an easier time finding each part they are going to use.  The arrows visually instruct students on the direction in which to place or turn parts so they fit together properly. A stop sign is used to signify that students need to stop the current assembly and place the parts to the side before moving on to the next step.


CAST, Inc. (2012). Why is UDL necessary? Retrieved from:

Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.


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