Using digital to support remote learning

Finding the right solutions

Using digital to support remote learning

Consider how much of your population will be able to access digital learning materials. If you have a large low-income population, we suggest a radio-first or TV-first approach.

Even in a high-income country, digital is normally best used as a way to support and supplement learning provided by TV and radio.

If digital is to be used a lot, you must make sure that your teachers have, or can be provided with, devices they can use to connect with students and parents or carers.

Target smartphones

Design your materials to be viewed on smartphones, to which even children in middle-income households may have some access.

Smartphones offer two advantages over TV and radio:

  • apps can quickly respond to children’s answers and offer individualised learning, which is useful for basic skills, for example phonics
  • they enable two-way communication, between educator and learner, or between groups of learners

Deciding what to teach

It is very important to have a set of well-structured resources that engage students and challenge them in ways that help them learn.


Avoid posting lectures, but instead focus on engaging students with interactive educational materials.

Use digital materials to teach subjects that are hard to teach using TV and radio. For example, smartphones are better than TV for basic literacy and phonics.

Smartphones are also good for to ‘drill-type’ activities, such as learning times tables.

Age and ability

It is important to provide materials for children of different ages and abilities.

Remote learners can choose the learning that fits their ability rather than having to learn according to age or grade. For this reason, it may be better to categorise materials based on achievement rather than age.


Learning materials should be in local languages, especially for primary school children.

If it is not possible for all materials to be in the local language, at least some parts of them should be.


All materials need to meet accessibility standards, both for users with disabilities and those with poor Internet or mobile connectivity.

While digital learning has many advantages, and may increase access for some groups, it also has its limits. Smartphones have small screens, which may prevent some people from being able to use them.

Using other communication channels to support digital learning

You can use other communication channels to help children and parents benefit from digital learning.

TV programming should also be made available online, to complement online-only materials.

Radio can be used to offer complementary learning materials. You can raise awareness of digital materials on radio, for example by advertising, or by having radio shows invite students, parents and specialists to discuss remote learning.

We suggest that you use SMS to send parents information, tips and encouragement, and telling them

  • how to access digital materials
  • the activities parents should do with their children
  • the homework should children should complete

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