Prajodh Rajan is an education entrepreneur who enjoys an enviable reputation in the industry, for his pioneering efforts in early childhood education in the country, besides creating a fertile ecosystem for entrepreneurship in the education sector. He is responsible for guiding the strategic direction and growth of Lighthouse Learning (formerly EuroKids International Group). Under his leadership, EuroKids International Group grew from two Pre-Schools in 2001 to a network of 1,200+ Pre-Schools in over 360 cities. The Group also added over 38 K-12 schools across multiple brands in its journey till date.
While online learning also known as e-learning has been around for quite some time, it has never been as crucial as it is now, thanks to the pandemic. Both children and educational institutions had very little time to adapt to the concept of online learning or tech-enabled learning, as the pandemic hit Indian shores in early 2020. This quick transition left many children with learning disabilities vulnerable.
Such children encounter unique barriers, as learning disabilities, namely cognitive impairment, dyslexia, dyscalculia (difficulty with math), or auditory processing disorder, preventing them from understanding and retaining even simple concepts or communicating with their educators, which can demotivate them and negatively affect their performance. A good example in this context is Darsheel Safary’s character Ishaan Awasthi from Aamir Khan’s film – Taare Zameen Par. Therefore, it is critical that parents and caregivers have the necessary resources and information so that they can help children with learning disabilities and enhance their learning experiences. The use of technology in education plays a significant role here, as it enables a convenient and enriching educational journey for students with disabilities.
In this article, we will explore a few strategies to make e-learning convenient and accessible for such students.
Know the inside-out of the e-learning process and program
Parents should take the time to understand the e-learning program that their child will be using. They must learn about the resources that are available, how their child is going to use the program, and what they can do, as parents, to best support them. Parents can ask the following questions to see how accessible the program is for their child: Will the child feel confident using the platform on their own? Will the child be able to interact with the website, instructors, and classmates with ease? Will the child be able to finish the basic activities such as submitting their homework and taking tests by themselves? The child should have no trouble accessing the program’s content material. Moreover, children with cognitive impairment, low literacy skills, or any other learning disability should be able to easily understand the concepts taught in the program.
Let students set their own pace
It’s certainly not easy to switch from a traditional classroom to online learning. It muddles the distinction between work and play for children. To help them adjust, parents must ensure that they have a dedicated study area that is free from all distractions. They should also ask children for inputs on where they will be most comfortable doing their schoolwork and what they will need in that space to provide them with convenient access to supplies and resources. Basically, allowing learning-disabled students to study at their own pace and in their own way helps them succeed. E-learning provides students with the option to plan their own schedules, which relieves the unnecessary strain that most learning-disabled students in traditional classrooms experience. It also removes the discouragement and wards off fear, as well as, hesitation. Students can take breaks anytime or study for as long as they want, while still being guided by the right principles to prevent mental or emotional exhaustion.
Embrace the ever-changing technology
The state of technology is ever-evolving. People in general are able to use an increasing variety of digital technologies. Despite the difficulties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, schools and other educational institutions have done the best they could with what they had to support students in continuing their education. However, parents must also make an effort to stay updated with ever-evolving technology developments. These can assist parents and children in overcoming the current difficulties they may be facing with online learning. By staying informed, parents may discover more effective resources and tools that will give the children the academic support they need to succeed. For example, students with dyslexia can keep up their journey of learning via software that helps them with writing, or students with an auditory processing disorder can embrace technology that converts speech into text.
The final word
With this, one thing is certain – so many students now have access to high-quality education whenever and wherever they are, thanks to technology enabled learning . However, “many” does not include all. Thus, parents and caregivers, along with educators must work together to ensure that children with learning disabilities don’t fall behind, especially when it comes to something as crucial as education. And one thing that should help prevent the same is to ensure that learning-disabled children have access to use technology that can help improve their learning experience along with access to all necessary educational resources and materials that can help them reach their goals.
Undoubtedly, e-learning and tech-enabled learning is the future of education. Hence, making it convenient and accessible, especially for students with learning disabilities, can prove to be a major contribution to inclusive education.