Sparks of Possibilities in Online Learning

शक्यत्यांची चमक- ऑनलाइन शिकण्यासाठीहा ब्लॉग मराठी मध्ये वाचण्यासाठी, येथे क्लिक करा.

ऑनलाइन लर्निंग को और एंगेजिंग बनाने के तरीके” इस ब्लॉग को हिंदी में पढ़ने के लिए, यहाँ क्लिक करें

Didi, mujhe kafi bore hota hai, main mere dosto se mil nhi pata aur jab se coronavirus aaya hain hum mil hi nahi paye aur baat bhi nhi hoti. Humari friendship bhi kam hogai hain. (Didi, I am feeling very bored. I am not able to meet my friends or speak with them, due to Coronavirus. Our friendship is reducing.)” replied one of the grade 5 students while having a conversation on how the online school experience has been during lockdown.  (Diksha Pandey, SEL Programme Facilitator, Grade 5, 2020)

We assume many educators might have heard students sharing feelings like bored, sad, and sleepy during online classes once or many times during their sessions.  Our teachers and facilitators have experienced something similar.

One of our SEL facilitators expressed, “Initially our students found it really difficult to adapt to the virtual learning, everything needed to be learned whether it was using the features of zoom/meet, learning to send messages on WhatsApp, or accessing learning resources. During the sessions, the participation level of the students was impacted as the setting of the classroom transitioned to communities and homes. At times during the sessions, it  became difficult to gauge whether students are following the instructions and learning the concepts.” 

One of our elementary teachers shares, “As a teacher, I was worried when things shifted online and every day seemed a new day with new uncertainties and new challenges. It was a quick transition to the online space to make learning spaces accessible to students and communities as soon as possible. Worldwide people experienced grief, pain, and fear during the pandemic in response to that we as educators centered on student well-being, care, and safety. We started having conversations around emotions and self-care with students. 

We started exploring activities and modalities keeping in mind the diverse ways of learning which enabled creativity in the session spaces.”  

During our research, we found that there are four widely accepted learning modalities (or modes) commonly known by the acronym VARK: Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing, and Kinesthetic. We started taking one modality at a time to keep our classes engaged and creative. 

Visual Learning Modality 

We initiated the use of visual mode to process information in the form of images that communicate major points. The majority of our brains process visual information very efficiently. It becomes easier to recall a vivid image like a photograph than to remember what someone said or wrote.  

Some tips/ resources/practices we used in online classes: 

  1. Mind Maps for older grades.
  2. Rebus reading with younger grades. 
  3. Using videos and stories for concepts.
  4. Usage of powerpoint presentation for instructions, norms and demonstrations (examples/Modeling)
  5. Finding photos or other images related to the topic of learning.


Auditory learning modality 

The auditory mode consists of hearing and reciting information, asking frequent questions, and using discussion to clarify or absorb the material. It is the ability to store and remember what has been heard, whether sounds are related or unrelated. There can be various activities explored during auditory mode like music, rhymes, playing instruments, reading storybooks etc.

Some tips/ resources/practices we used: 

  1. Making different sounds with body parts for grades 1 to 5.
  2. Songs and icebreakers 
  3. Using art and music based activities for emotion, energy check in. 


Kinesthetic learning modality 

Kinesthetic mode is when we are doing something physical, best described as learning by doing—whether as hands-on activities or by experience—or by moving while thinking or learning. 

Some tips/ resources/practices we used: 

  • Body Exercises and Dance (using this as energizers and welcome ritual of the class)
  • Role-playing
  • using props to solve problems
  • Adding body movement activities  to the session

Reading / Writing modality 

 Some learners learn primarily by reading and writing. They prefer reading texts from notes, handouts, and books. They may copy words from the board, repeat them while we read to them. 

Some tips/ resources/practices we used: 

  • Re reading the same text with younger grades.
  • Encouraging students to read texts of their interest.
  • Writing texts with images on powerpoint presentation

We collaborated with organisations such as Art for Akanksha for art-based learning and Inner space Therapy for mindfulness and counseling support, to further build on our skills. These collaborations and training allowed the facilitators to bring creativity into the sessions and supported us in the journey of bridging those learning gaps.

To learn more about online teaching/learning, listen to this video from our Khoj team:


Pranali Patil holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Mumbai University and a diploma in Early Childhood Care Education (ECCEd). She works with Apni Shala as an SEL Curriculum Lead. When Pranali is not working, you will find her making travel plans or trying new restaurants, or doodling.

Priyanka Shrivastav is a Grade 2 teacher and Programme Coordinator with Khoj Community Learning Center. She leads a class of 26 amazing young people on a journey of discovery and co-creation. She holds a degree in E.C.C. Ed. and Bachelor of Commerce. She also leads the Youth Project, a social-emotional learning initiative for youth in the community. When not teaching, Priyanka loves to doodle and travel. 

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