How to successfully plan an online teaching session under the new PRAGYATA guidelines

The closure of schools during the pandemic has led to disruptions in the way teachers were educating the learners. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted more than 240 million children (enrolled in schools) across the country. 

These schools, their lessons, activities, it’s all going digital. Henceforth, the educational institutes are in a crusade to plan the enrolled students’ sessions and classes. 

To ensure that teachers across the country engaged in conducting online sessions are successful, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has prepared a draft named Pragyata, which includes eight steps to follow while developing and delivering online education. 

As per Pragyata, right steps for online education include the following:

  • Plan
  • Review
  • Arrange
  • Guide
  • Yak (talk)
  • Assign
  • Track 
  • Appreciate

This blog would take you through a detailed understanding of how being a teacher and a host of online sessions demands proper planning. A few questions that you’ll get answers to in this extensive blog are as follows: 

  • Why should you plan before taking an online session?
  • What elements to focus on online sessions? 
  • Core elements to focus while planning an online session.

Note: The elements discussed in the blog are in accordance with Pragyata: Guidelines on Digital Education by NCERT. 

Let’s begin! 

Why should I plan before taking an online session?

Just like your face to face learning sessions, there exists a need for proper planning for online classes as well. 

Remember, how at schools and colleges the management used to draft a year’s plan for every class and semester! All the textbooks were pre-decided, annual calendars were drafted, and even assessment plans were explained to the teachers. These planning and preparations were done to complete the syllabus of the class on time. 

Similarly, the teachers engaged in the online sessions need to prepare a monthly or weekly plan to present formative and summative assessments. These plans might also include projects and co-curricular activities to keep the students engaged with the classes. 

Although most of the outlining is prepared by the school or college management, online as your source to deliver knowledge, it’s significant to prepare a plan at your level. Performing this would ensure a successful implementation of digital education. 

What are the core elements of planning an online session?

Age and Class of Children 

Children are the most delicate to handle. There exist unique ways to manage children of different ages and years. As a teacher, you might be aware of how you would command a 5th class student and explain concepts to a 10th class girl. They’re different and distinct from their nature. 

Hence, while you begin planning your classes and the ways to conduct them, it’s crucial to keep in mind the children’s age and class to whom you’ll be addressing the session to.

You must keep in mind:

  • Any concerns related to the mental or physical health of the student
  • Audit the resources available at their end
  • Tools to use for conducting the session
  • The time duration of the sessions

For instance, for toddlers, it would be great if you could come with some sort of animations, short movies, or pictorial representation. Experts recommend to restrict pre-schoolers from much interaction on laptops or mobile. 

Number of Students in Each Class & Their Contexts 

Every class comes with several distinct and diverse identities of students. Therefore, considering the number of these students becomes another critical factor in order to deliver the session effectively. 

Teachers must plan to engage them as a whole by trying different online strategies for different groups of students. This can be done by either creating groups based on the digital tools available or accessible to them. 

Keeping the context of children in mind is also imperative. A few students might have all the facilities at their homes with diverse socio-economic backgrounds, but a few might be there who don’t have the same luxury to attend online lectures. Therefore, the medium of delivering online sessions must be decided to keep these contexts in mind. 

Duration of Class or Online Session 

The classes at schools vary from 30 minutes to 1 hour, but is this time limit feasible for an online course as well!

It’s an essential factor to consider while planning a weekly or monthly session of your subject. Teachers can engage with the parents or even students beforehand to get an idea of their comfort. These surveys might provide insights that can make your sessions more interactive and engaging. 

Generally, any online course or session duration must be planned in consonance with the age-group of the children. As per Pragyata, the length of sessions can be: 

  • 3 hours/day for 9-12 class students
  • 1.2 hours/day for 1-8 class students
  • 30 minute/day for pre-school, nursery, and kindergarten 

Learning Styles of Children 

Being proficient in understanding students’ learning styles is just one reason why teachers are  referred to as a blessing for children. They help each one in the class to apprehend the concepts most suitably. 

You might find students who learn by reading, some might grasp is better by listening, and others by performing it. It’s because students adapt in varied learning styles. It’s advised to consider the learning styles and then only plan a wholesome curriculum to be delivered online. The sessions might be kept a mix of vocal lessons, go-through videos, activities, assignments, or weekly projects. Planning such lessons would tap each learning style, ultimately making it a success. 

Other Factors to consider while planning an online session: 

  • Nature of Subject: Every subject comes with a different pedagogy. A few might require more practical problems, while others might require long discussions. 
  • Language of Sessions: The materials or sessions delivered online must be prepared while keeping in mind the languages that the students attending are well-versed with. 
  • Nature of Assignments: As discussed above, the assignments must be a mix for students to make concepts engaging and understandable. 
  • Motivating Students: Appreciating students online is as essential as conducting lessons. They must be aware that their efforts are being acknowledged. 

Wrapping it Up

While you create a plan for delivering and presenting online sessions, you must not try and recreate Face-to-Face (F2F) classroom experience. It won’t be effective. 

Proper planning of lessons would lead you to draft a valuable experience that would be capable of drawing each student’s attention. The right plan would additionally mark high-class attendance, a better understanding of concepts, and great feedback from the learners. 

I hope you plan it to deliver the best online learning experience.