Part 3: Inquire, Plan, Act, Reflect (Repeat)

There are many different models for professional inquiry. Some have more steps or different names than our model. Any process works as long as it meets these requirements:

  • The process is iterative and ongoing

  • "Failure" is expected

  • Decisions are made with a variety of data (observation, discussion, products) and do not rely solely on test data and standardized forms

  • The learning meets YOUR needs, and your students needs

  • You collaborate with colleagues

  • The action (and learning) happens in the classroom

  • Self-reflection (metateaching) is ongoing and shared

  • The process is not required, marked, evaluated or orchestrated by administration or the district (although they can support your efforts and your focus should align with system/school goals)

As educators persist in questioning what works and what does not work, as they investigate the “why” behind results and reflect on potential changes to practice, they engage in the “creative interaction between the professional educator and the students’ needs” (Hannay, Wideman, & Seller, 2010). They come to understand that education is in and of itself inquiry, and that their explorations and experimentations are a form of research, rooted in the learning experience.

Dynamic Learning Connecting Student Learning and Educator Learning

Inquire, Plan, Act and Reflect cylce of professional learning. Long description available through link.

Next Steps

In this section we focused on lesson design. This keeps the process fast and iterative. When ready you could also move to unit planning as this level of planning better lends itself the essential questions and the process of long term inquiry or project-based learning.


The IPAR process includes the use of SMART goals to develop an essential question that you have about your learners or learning. This question is based on your students needs. The UDL Planning Guide provides UDL-focused strategies to flesh out the actionable aspects of your SMART goals. We encourage you to take small steps, iterate on the same essential question until you've addressed it to your professional requirements. Then you can move on to the next essential question.

In the following chapters, we'll introduce you further to the creation of SMART goals and the use of the UDL Planning guide to support your professional growth.


  • Chapter 7: Introduction to Lesson Makeover

  • Chapter 8: Wade In: All-Access Classroom

  • Chapter 9: Shallow Swim: Building Skills, Taking Ownership

  • Chapter 10: Deep Dive: Internalizing Skills, Building Learning Expertise

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Professional Learning is grounded in inquiry. IPAR - Inquire, Plan, Act and Reflect - is an iterative process you can use with colleagues to explore UDL in authentic, "real-classroom" ways to effect change. No workshop required. #DiveIntoUDL