Learning During the Lockdown

Insights from Rural and Small town Uttarakhand

Chart depicting youth interviewed by location (rural/urban/semi-urban)
Figure representing number of youth interviewed by district
Word cloud depicting online applications and channels used by the youth: WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube emerged as most commonly used.

Perceptions about online learning

Challenges:

  1. Barriers to inclusion
  • Videos, especially those that feature handwritten notes, require better quality internet to watch.
  • Assignments are submitted as PDFs, but lots of students did not know how to save files in this format.
  • Due to a lack of network connectivity and facilities to automatically save progress, students have reported issues such as completing assignments that then ‘disappear’.
  • Zoom sessions time out at the 40 minute limit, after which it can be difficult to rejoin due to the network.
  • Over Zoom sessions, a few students do not keep themselves on mute, and create a disruptive experience for anyone interested in studying.
  • If the teacher sends notes as a series of photos over Whatsapp, students do not know what order to look at them in.
  • Specifically related to the advantages of this format on the learning of the individual were: Reduced travel time means that youth can spend more time on their studies
  • Students can eat and sit comfortably at home, allowing them to focus better
  • The content is more engaging.
  • A youth also pointed out that while there are students who do not come to class all year, now they at least have some engagement with the learning material since it is coming straight to their WhatsApp.
  • Improve digital infrastructure, more cellphone towers
  • Developing a low cost application which can serve as a learning hub — to host classes, interact with students and address questions
  • Capacity building of educators to prepare engaging and quality online learning material
  • Due to the difficulties joining online classes, students recommended pre-recorded videos, notes, ebooks and mock tests as good alternatives or complements to online classes.
  • In case WhatsApp group settings prevent students from posting on the group, teachers can lift this restriction at a predetermined time each week so that students can ask their questions
  • Support students with navigating the interface, such as how to download apps and join video calls.
  • An educator mentioned that schools were not well prepared for such a sudden pivot to online learning. For the future, schools should continue some level of engagement through online learning such as maintaining WhatsApp groups and sending content on them.
  • A few students mentioned having created their own WhatsApp group to discuss any doubts they might have, in case the teacher is unavailable or they feel hesitant about asking the teacher.

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Margshala Foundation

Margshala Foundation is a non-profit & social organization working to bring opportunities, awareness, and mentoring to youth in rural and small-town India.