This page in Swedish

Centre for Academic Development

Broadened participation in higher education

Our teaching mission is not solely a matter of content – what we teach. It also relates to how we teach and structure our teaching. According to the Higher Education Act, all higher education programmes must promote broadened recruitment.

Key concepts

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to teaching that increases accessibility and reduces specialisation.

Broadened recruitment is an issue of justice and democracy. Everyone has the right to a university education. Regardless of sex, transgender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation or social background. Broadened recruitment is also an issue of quality and relevance.

Broadened participation means that universities must take measures to promote teaching that is more accessible, combat unequal social recruitment, and work to ensure that all societal groups have equal access to education.

Broadened participation is about reaching a varied group of students in teaching, based both on their individual conditions and prior knowledge and on the admission requirements we have set. Broadened participation in teaching is supported by the Discrimination Act, and Örebro University works actively with equal opportunities and gender equality issues.

The Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda also reflect the importance of teaching based on broadened participation on equal and non-discriminatory terms. This is clear in goal 4, Quality Education, goal 5 Gender Equality, and goal 10, Reduced Inequalities.

Designing inclusive learning environments in which all students are involved in teaching may be considered an educational challenge. However, research shows that an approach characterised by openness and respect for all students eliminates the need to create special solutions for those with special needs. Instead, it saves time and other resources.

Broadened participation can be discussed in terms of the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) model, which has been used in educational contexts since the 1980s when digital learning tools were designed to improve and facilitate learning for young people with disabilities. UDL is now described as an approach, a process and a goal for teaching where motivation and engagement are the foundation. An important aspect of UDL is that it involves trusting students to take responsibility for their own learning. This is also something that is emphasised in Örebro University's Educational Philosophy.

UDL can be likened to an umbrella for all the good teaching that we already do, for example through case methodology, flipped classroom or problem-based learning (PBL). UDL is a tool that helps you to teach in an accessible way: When we work based on the premise that individual differences are the rule rather than the exception, we can create teaching with added value for many.

Getting started with broadened participation in education

We have provided some suggestions on how to go about working with broadened participation in your programme. You can find both information and support materials on the How to integrate perspectives in your programme page.

Read more

Read more about broadened participation and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) on The UDL Guidelines website.

The videos on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) are between 4 and 5 minutes long. They were produced by Oakland University (English subtitles are available).

Universal Design for Learning - Part 1: Definition and Explanation 

Universal Design for Learning - Part 2: UDL Guidelines

Universal Design for Learning - Part 3: UDL Principle of Engagement

Universal Design for Learning - Part 4: UDL Principle of Representation

Universal Design for Learning  - Part 5: Principle of Action and Expression

Universal Design for Learning - Part 6: UDL and Culturally Diverse Learners