IKEA hack to promote student interest and choice

A boy and girl look at a children's wood spinning wheel.
Credit: ikea.com

An IKEA hack to promote student interest and choice. Intrigued? Read on to discover how a simple product is used to implement a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) checkpoint.

Educators with knowledge of UDL likely recognise its benefit in engaging students, supporting understanding and representing their learning. The challenge is found in finding the time to explore strategies to implement UDL.

We are here to help! This post commences a series that discusses simple tools or strategies, including the IKEA hack, to implement UDL principles into teaching and learning activities…right away!

First, some background orientation. UDL Guidelines assist educators to vary instructional methods to provide greater access to, and interest in, learning. The UDL guidelines work with three principles, including providing multiple means of engagement, representation, and action and expression.  Each principle in the guidelines is then divided into checkpoints that break the principles into meaningful descriptions with actionable parts.

This post focuses on the first checkpoint, ‘recruiting interest’ in the ‘engagement’ principle. One way to achieve this is to optimise individual choice and autonomy.

A simple strategy is to use choice boards. A choice board is a tool that provides options for students to choose different ways to learn about a particular concept. Choice boards are often presented as a 3×3 grid graphic organiser. However, to cater to different ages and interest levels, the choice board concept can be extended to clickable choices on a digital platform or a choice spinner. This is where IKEA’s LUSTIGT ‘Wheel of Fortune’ chocolate-wheel style spinner comes in. Cover the spinning wheel segments with student learning options to create a fun and interactive choice board-style tool.

For older or more experienced students, the ‘flipped classroom’ model is a strategy to optimise autonomy.  This is an approach where students are provided with content to consume independently prior to working with it in the formal learning environment. The approach supports students to prepare for the next learning sequence at their own pace. Multiple formats of presenting the content should be used. Ultimately, less formal class time is taken working through the initial content, allowing students to engage in deeper learning activities and apply their knowledge and understanding.