Brain Based Systems and UDL

Brain-Based Systems and UDL

UDL reflects and supports findings from neurological research. It bases its principles on a three-part framework of brain systems: recognition, strategy, and affective systems. These systems represent different functions and spatiality in the brain.

  • The recognition system serves to gather and receive information(the “what” of learning). This can occur through sight, sound, touch, and/or movement. Attention, memory, and perception are needed to do this.

  • The strategic system is the area of the brain that organizes this information and plans how to use or express it to express our own ideas. This is the “how” of learning.

  • The third brain area represents the affective system. This is sometimes referred to as the social side of learning. It considers how emotional reactions to experiences affect learning. Brain research suggests that this system drives the learner’s attention and, therefore, memory and meaning. It is the motivation or the “why” of learning.

To hear more about these brain-based systems, listen to David Rose, Chief Scientist at the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), a nonprofit research and development organization for UDL applications to expand learning opportunities for individuals. Click “The Brain Research” at the following link:



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