Principles of inclusive education

Deakin’s Inclusive Education Principles underpin the University’s positive stance towards diversity and difference – an approach that anticipates learner variability, recognises diverse strengths and employs multiple ways of engaging with students.

Inclusive learning and teaching in higher education refers to the ways in which pedagogy, curricula and assessment are designed and delivered to engage students in learning that is meaningful, relevant and accessible to all. It embraces a view of the individual and individual difference as the source of diversity that can enrich the lives and learning of others.

Christine Hockings (2010)

Deakin’s inclusive education principles

These Principles were developed in consultation between faculties and divisions to inform pedagogy, curriculum design and teaching across the University, whether in the Cloud or on campus. The 9 core principles are also closely aligned with Deakin Design principles and can serve to both contribute to improving inclusivity but also course and unit design.
Deakin's inclusive education principles

Ways of applying Deakin’s inclusive education principles

Deakin’s inclusive education principles have been carefully tailored to Deakin’s educational context and goals. These principles reflect core Deakin values and aims but are also influenced by models and frameworks that seek to positively impact the breadth and scope of championing inclusive practice. The following sections aim to provide you with an overview of current and emerging models and frameworks that inform Deakin’s principles but that can also contribute further to enhancing and prizing inclusive teaching practices.

Universal Design for Learning: key principles of inclusive teaching practice

The principles of UDL, which inform our inclusive teaching toolkit, aim to meet the needs of students with diverse language and learning skills through providing multiple ways for students to:

• gain knowledge via different modes of content delivery (multiple means of representation),
• demonstrate knowledge via different activities and tasks (multiple means of expression and action), and
• interact with their teachers, fellow students, and study materials (multiple means of engagement).

(Burgstahler 2015)

UDL is an inclusive set of principles that can be applied to most, if not all educational settings. UDL in the Higher Education sector is very useful when ‘developing curricula, selecting materials and creating learning environments that takes into account the wide variability’ of university students.

Watch this video: UDL on campus [00:02:09]

Take the time to familarise yourself with what UDL looks like in the Higher Education context.

Be sure to visit and view the UDL Guidelines. By planning and designing your teaching to target diverse students, and keeping these guidelines in mind, the need for adaptation or retrofitting is minimised.

The infusion model of inclusive pedagogy

The infusion model of inclusive pedagogy emphasises the application of inclusive practices to all parts of the curriculum: the intended learning outcomes, learning activities and materials, assessment tasks, course-specific skills and graduate learning outcomes, and inclusive physical and virtual learning environments. By infusing your ULOs/CLOs& GLOs, learning activities and assessment tasks with inclusive design principles you can positively impact every student’s learning experience. The graphic below demonstrates this process while also providing ideas for how you can share this approach with colleagues.

UDL infusion model graphic

Ways of aligning with Deakin policies and procedures

Deakin University has policies, procedures, and strategic documents that relate to supporting inclusive practice in your teaching. Relevant Deakin policies and procedures can be found below.

Learning is inclusive: learning experiences and environments are designed to accommodate student diversity, and create equivalent opportunities for academic success for all learners in rich online (cloud-first) and located learning activities and spaces.

Want to know more?

In addition to UDL and the Infusion model of inclusive pedagogy be sure to check out the Inclusive Pedagogy Framework developed by the University of Wisconsin – Madison. For more Deakin specific information visit Deakin’s Diversity and Inclusion Policy.


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