Research Article

Universal design for learning and artificial intelligence in the digital era: Fostering inclusion and autonomous learning

Silvia Saborío-Taylor 1 * , Fabián Rojas-Ramírez 1
More Detail
1 Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, Heredia, COSTA RICA* Corresponding Author
International Journal of Professional Development, Learners and Learning, 6(2), 2024, ep2408,
Published Online: 11 June 2024, Published: 01 July 2024
OPEN ACCESS   54 Views   37 Downloads
Download Full Text (PDF)


In the digital era, the convergence of universal design for learning (UDL) principles and artificial intelligence (AI) stands as a transformative force shaping education. This article explores their intersection, emphasizing their combined impact on fostering inclusion and autonomous learning through the lens of UDL’s multiple means of representation, engagement, and expression. UDL, committed to inclusivity by providing various ways for students to access, engage with, and demonstrate understanding of content, synergizes with AI’s transformative capabilities. The article presents three practical applications illustrating how the integration of UDL and AI, employing multiple means, enhances autonomous learning, eliminates barriers, and cultivates inclusive educational spaces. This collaboration not only addresses immediate challenges but also serves as a catalyst for systemic change, paving the way for a more just and equitable educational landscape in the digital era. Continuous reflection, ethical considerations, and purposeful integration of UDL principles and AI are essential for refining these approaches and ensuring a responsive educational system that promotes inclusion and autonomy.


Saborío-Taylor, S., & Rojas-Ramírez, F. (2024). Universal design for learning and artificial intelligence in the digital era: Fostering inclusion and autonomous learning. International Journal of Professional Development, Learners and Learning, 6(2), ep2408.


  1. Bojorquez, H., & Martínez, M. (2023). The importance of artificial intelligence in education for all students. Idra Newsletter, 5(1), 1-8.
  2. CAST. (2018). UDL and learning brain.
  3. CAST. (2024). About universal design for learning.
  4. Digital Learning Institute. (2023). Leveraging AI in accessible design to transform digital learning.
  5. Edyburn, D. L. (2005). Universal design for learning. Special Education Technology Practice, 7(5), 16-22.
  6. Farikah, Mulyani, M., Astuty, & Mazid, S. (2023). Student engagement in virtual learning: The self-determination theory perspective. Arab World English Journal, 14(3), 182-198.
  7. Grand-Clement, S. (2017). Digital learning: Education and skills in the digital world. Rand Corporation.
  8. Intraboonsom, C., Darasawang, P., & Reinders, H. (2020). Teacher’s practices in fostering learner autonomy in a Thai university context. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 11(2), 194-203.
  9. Lewis, J., & Trépanier-Bisson, N. (2022). The new leadership landscape. In Education reimagined: Leadership for a new era (pp. 10-19). Center for Strategic Education.
  10. Massola, G. (2023). Curriculum and technology: Use of digital devices to promote inclusion and autonomy in learning. Seven Editora.
  11. McMahon, D. D., & Walker, Z. (2019). Leveraging emerging technology to design an inclusive future with universal design for learning. CEPS Journal, 9(3), 75-93.
  12. Pratiwi, D. I., & Waluyo, B. (2023). Autonomous learning and the use of digital technologies in online English classrooms in higher education. Contemporary Educational Technology, 15(2), ep423.
  13. Rao, K. (2020). Beyond access: Universal design for learning (UDL) and digital tools for meaningful inclusion. In A. Mehra (Ed.), 21st century learning spaces (pp. 25-27). UNESCO MGIEP.
  14. Riki, M. (2023). The use of AI (artificial intelligence) in education (literature review). Indonesian Journal of Primary Education, 7(2), 143-158.
  15. Saleh, M. (2023). The power of AI and future of education is now: How teachers and the taught can create the teaching.
  16. Sánchez, S. (2023). El diseño universal para el aprendizaje: Guía práctica para el profesorado [Universal design for learning: A practical guide for teachers]. S. A. of Editions.
  17. Slootman, M., Altes, T., Domagała-Zyśk, E., & Nielandt, B. (2023). e-inclusion. Towards inclusive digital learning. In Proceedings of the Erasmus Scientific Days 2022 (pp. 103-116). Atlantis Press.
  18. Soledispa, P. L., Aguilar, G. C., Crespo, O. S., & Carranco, S. D. P. (2024). Inteligencia artificial y educación inclusiva: Herramienta para la diversidad en el aula [Artificial intelligence and inclusive education: Tool for diversity in the classroom]. Revista Social Fronteriza [Border Social Magazine], 4(2), e42215.
  19. UNICEF. (2017). Inclusive education. Including children with disabilities in quality learning: What needs to be done?
  20. Universal Design License to Learn. (2016). Universal design for learning: A best practice guideline.
  21. Wayne Resa. (2018). Guidelines and considerations for AI in education.
  22. Wolf, A. (2023). The future of learning: UDL, tech, and AI in the classroom.