Original Research

Universal design of instruction to enhance learning for university students with visual disabilities

Jayshree Singh, Sachin Suknunan
African Journal of Disability | Vol 12 | a1156 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v12i0.1156 | © 2023 Jayshree Singh, Sachin Suknunan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 October 2022 | Published: 20 December 2023

About the author(s)

Jayshree Singh, School of Education, College of Humanities, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Sachin Suknunan, Student Services Division, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Abstract

Background: There has been a steady increase in the number of students with disabilities (SWD) in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in South Africa, with a significant number of students having visual disabilities. Equal access remains a key challenge in the classroom setting, thus emphasising a significant gap.

Objectives: This paper capitalised on the significance of this gap and examined the potential of Universal Design of Instruction (UDI) to promote equal access for students with visual disabilities (SWVDs) in the classroom within a university setting in order to maximise learning outcomes.

Method: The study was conducted at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), which had approximately 204 SWVDs. This paper draws primarily on the quantitative component of the study. Data collection entailed distributing a questionnaire to all SWVDs. Analysis was conducted using SPSS 21, which produced descriptive and inferential statistics. The theoretical framework of Sen’s Capability Approach in line with the Social Model of Disability was applied.

Results: Findings indicated a lack of UDI in the classroom with very little compliance to all principles, resulting in increased challenges in teaching and learning for SWVDs. The incorporation of UDI in the classroom does have a positive correlation with learning outcomes.

Conclusion: The incorporation of UDI principles can offer a potential design for easier access to teaching and learning to enhance and maximise learning outcomes; alleviate access challenges in the classroom; and address the negative experiences thereof for SWVDs.

Contribution: The study adds value to the scarce body of knowledge on UDI in the classroom for university SWVDs from a learning enhancement perspective.


Keywords

disabilities; diversity; higher education; inclusion; students; university; visual disability; universal design of instruction

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 4: Quality education

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