Multiple Means of Engagement

Universal Design for Learning: Multiple Means of Engagement


The UDL framework principle, Provide Multiple Means of Engagement (MME), has been referred to as the “why” of learning (Rose & Meyer, 2002), or the motivation for learning. The affective networks of the brain determine how learners get engaged and stay motivated and how learners are challenged, excited, or interested (National Center on UDL, 2011). Affect, or emotions and feelings, impact student learning (Immordino-Yang & Damasio, 2007; Rose & Dalton, 2009). To aid student learning, it is important to establish nonthreatening, welcoming environments.

The National Center on Universal Design for Learning describes Multiple Means of Engagement in this way:

Affect represents a crucial element to learning, and learners differ markedly in the ways in which they can be engaged or motivated to learn. There are a variety of sources that can influence individual variation in affect including neurology, culture, personal relevance, subjectivity, and background knowledge, along with a variety of other factors. Some learners are highly engaged by spontaneity and novelty while others are disengaged, even frightened, by those aspects, preferring strict routine. Some learners might like to work alone, while others prefer to work with their peers. In reality, there is not one means of engagement that will be optimal for all learners in all contexts; providing multiple options for engagement is essential.
- National Center on UDL, Principle III, 2011

The Center provides expanded Guidelines with examples under each Checkpoint to increase the understanding of ways to Provide Multiple Means of Engagement. Below are some specific examples of Multiple Means of Engagement that a postsecondary instructor might use.

Some Ways to Provide Multiple Means of Engagement in Postsecondary Classes

  • Integrate podcasts/video/video conferencing options for lectures
  • Accept format choice (oral, written, visual) in assignments
  • Create safe, welcoming learning environments
  • Integrate service learning opportunities
  • Allow video, audio, or written options for self-reflection
  • Use individual response system such as clickers or response cards
  • Include scaffolding to support novices
  • Incorporate individual, partner, small group, and large group activities
  • Use rubrics to heighten salience of objectives