Children with learning disabilities in grades one to four in public schools in India need to be correctly identified and given the appropriate intervention because of high drop-out rates in these children before the age of 14. We propose LearnAbilities, a differential learning app that helps teachers identify, assess, intervene and track the progress of children with learning disabilities.
Children with learning disabilities (CLDs) grade (1-4), in the public schools of India are dropping out before the age of 14, because of the lack of inclusive environment that results from the inability of teachers to identify the learning disability and communicate effectively with CLDs. Based on UN statistics, out of 2.9 million children with disabilities in India, 990,000 (34%) are out of schools. And based on another study by the University of Melbourne, each classroom has 2-3 CLDs. Teachers are not adequately equipped with tools and skills to identifying CLD at early stages, which leads them to fail in recognising the need and consequently being unable to intervene effectively in order to improve CLDs’ academic achievements, inclusion and sense of belonging.
Our solution is LearnAbilities, a differential learning app for teachers in public schools in Mumbai, India. Its purpose is to empower teachers to create an inclusive environment for children with learning disabilities through four phases: identification, assessment, intervention and tracking. In the identification phase, teachers engage parents to answer questions regarding signs of learning disabilities that the child exhibits. This results in an informal identification of different learning abilities, framed as such to avoid the stigma of being labelled with a learning disability in India. Next is the assessment phase where expert special educators give advice on next steps for the child as well as collaborative goal setting. The intervention and tracking phases will be done partnering with existing learning apps and will directly reflect the goal setting done in the assessment phase.
The primary users are teachers, with children as the beneficiaries. Parents and expert special educators are important stakeholders. LearnAbility is valuable for all parties as it is easier to access, less time-consuming and less costly than formal assessments of learning disabilities. The framing of the content will help overcome the stigma around learning disabilities that exists in India.
CLDs will be identified and will receive remedial sessions that speak to their needs in order for them to keep up with their colleagues without being isolated in separate rooms, which will be instrumental in developing their trust in teachers and as a result will feel more included.
Several organisations exist that provide in person teacher training. No apps or organisations that take a multi-level approach of identification, assessment and tracking student learning outcomes exist.
Our solution has not been done or successfully implemented before, because education authorities provide inclusion interventions separately, either by identification, referring cases or providing remedial sessions only. The app will serve as a tool that combines all these levels into one easy to use model, which will be more conducive for improving attitudes towards CLDs.
LearnAbilities wants to enable teachers in mainstream public schools to identify the children with learning needs at an early age and provide with necessary intervention so that the dropout rate goes down from 34% to 10% by 2030. The app creates a database of the student, provides resources and materials to the teachers and tracks the progress over time and ensures that no child is left behind.
We will first establish a network of local NGOs, target schools, experts, teacher and parent storytellers and partners for funding and linkage to other apps. Piloting will use a free app before we broaden our community with an ongoing database of CLDs and their teachers, user feedback and forums.
Product / Service Validation