Universal design
for Learning

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UDL simplified.

Canopy has been designed specifically with Universal Design for Learning principles in mind.

The Universal Design for Learning principles refer to an emerging consensus among cognitive scientists and education researchers on what conditions and experiences lead to long-term retention and learning transfer. 

Designing with UDL in mind ensures learning will be accessible to all learners and makes it easier to create learning experiences that are lasting and meaningful for all learners. 

Canopy & UDL


Presenting content in multiple ways ensures that all learners can access the content. It also deepens learning by creating opportunities to process the same concepts from multiple angles. 

Canopy provides over a dozen unique ways for learning designers to present information. 

For example, a learner could:

- click through a slides presentation with narrated audio,
- view a YouTube video below the presentation,
- read a PDF,
- watch a screencast the instructor added,
- read and respond to comments made by other learners in a discussion,
- download a visual aid that was designed in Canva, etc... 

Audio narration can be added to any content block. 

As long as these resources are aligned, the varied representation will allow the learner to build more complex connections in their brain leading to deeper and more durable understanding. No other platform offers as many unique ways for learners to engage with content and ideas. 


Presenting content is important but learning does not really happen while receiving information.

Learning happens when you apply that information. 

What makes Canopy especially powerful is the ability for learners to DEMONSTRATE their learning in multiple ways as well. 

In addition to:
- traditional multiple choice,
- short answer, and
- ‘upload your assignment’ questions,

Canopy also allows for:
- audio and video response questions,
- PDF annotation,
- learner screencast responses,
- the ability to copy, edit and submit Google Docs/Slides,
- the ability to create a Canva design inside the platform,
- polls, and
- discussion threads. 

This means learners can:
- highlight an idea in a text,
- write about that idea,
- discuss the concept with others,
- record themselves verbalizing their key takeaways from the reading and discussion, and
- then use the Canva integration to create a visual that describes the concept.

If all they were asked to do was answer a multiple choice question then, it would give the appearance of learning, but the knowledge would quickly decay.

When learners are asked to demonstrate learning in different ways the connections in the brain become more complex and the learning becomes internalized. 


Stimulate interest and motivation for learning.

Principle 3 is about creating a path to and through a training that keeps the learner interested and motivated.

In many cases this can mean blending self-paced learning with in-person or offline learning experiences. 

Canopy also provides several ways for learning designers to leverage the third principle of UDL in online learning as well. 

Organizations can create community pages to host course libraries for all of the courses they develop. Learners can then browse these courses and choose the ones that are most relevant to them.

Inside of cohort-based courses, facilitators can also use the ‘subgroups’ feature to control who sees what content. This means that even within a course, different people may see different content or questions based on the subgroup that they are in. 

Learners also benefit from visual progress bars that adjust for individual lessons and units. Motivation is a central part of this principle and progress bars have been shown to be one of the most effective forms of motivation and reward - on par or better than much more elaborate gamification rewards.

By creating a platform built for how people learn, Canopy is raising the bar for what is possible with online learning. 

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