Chapter 10: Deep Dive:

Internalizing Skills, Building Learner Expertise

The goal of UDL - learner expertise - isn't something to be reached by the time students graduate from high school. It's not something you "achieve". It's a continual journey, becoming deeper and richer over time. 

Regardless of age everyone can be:

  • Purposeful

  • Motivated

  • Resourceful

  • Knowledgeable

  • Strategic

  • Goal Directed

Every learner can develop learner expertise, however it may look very different in a 5 year old compared to a 15 year old compared to a 35 year old. Depending on developmental level, experience, and learning needs, scaffolding may be required to support growth in expertise. Perhaps not surprisingly, 5 year olds may exhibit more expertise, having had less time to compliantly play the game of school and as such be less fearful of failure, and (one hopes) less worried about their GPA and "getting into a good college". 

Share the goal of UDL with your learners. Help them define what each term means: what it looks like and sounds like. Have then reflect frequently on their developing expertise, and their next steps.


And don't forget to model this lifelong learning mindset for your students as you work together to become expert learners.

Dogs showing different qualities of expert learning. Strategic and goal directed (dog has grabbed tennis ball in the pool), Resourceful and knowledgeable (Dog with a bag in its mouth), Purposeful and motivated (Dog greeting soldier returning home), Expert learner (Dog balancing treat on nose.

Pause and Reflect

We've compiled the pause and reflect questions from the book into a Google Doc. 


Feel free to make a copy and work inside the document, or record your thoughts using another form of media. 

Chapter 10 - Pause and Reflect

To begin, we wanted to collect data to see what students ages 6–11 years knew about what an expert learner was. Students were allowed to write out, video or draw a picture with a description of their answer.

  • Over 50% of the students replied that an expert learner was compliant, i.e. listened to the teacher, followed all the rules, raised his/her hand in class

  • Over 20% of the students replied that an expert learner was smart and made good grades...

The Expert Learner Project

Deep Dive

Educator: [Your Name]

In this space we want to feature you! 

Coming soon we'll have an example of an educator at the Wade In level sharing how they used the UDL Planning Guide to change their practice. While we focused on K-12, anyone can share how they've changed their instruction!

We'er looking for 1 or 2 minute videos with the following information:

  1. Your name, grade, school and district (if applicable)

  2. Your "swimming" level - Wade In, Shallow Swim or Deep Dive

  3. The high level overview of the lesson - provide a link or PDF copy if available

  4. One or two changes you made (using the UDL Planning Guide as a reference)

  5. The apps or online tools you used

  6. Outcomes - what worked, questions you have, next steps.

Join the coversation on Twitter.

Poll your students, "What is an expert learner?"

A) You listen to the teacher, follow all the rules, etc.
B) You have the skills and desire to learn
C) You are Smart, get good grades​​
D) A & C

Anything but b and you and your students have some work to do. #DiveIntoUDL