Apply Vedic Techniques to Online Learning


Often, students ignore that education is a journey from the outside to the inside: from information to knowledge and from knowledge to achievement. As educators, we naturally study educational theories. Theories of learning such as behaviorism, cognitive psychology, constructivism, social learning and many others have been discussed and developed responses to the phenomenon of learning. research, know and apply improved teaching methods for better learning. In this regard, Vedic learning from ancient India comes to mind. In ancient India, among the many learning paths for self-realization, students of the Vedas also learn to apply three basic sequential techniques to master a subject: Åšravaṇa (listening), Manana (reflection / contemplation / erasure of doubts) and Nididhyasana (meditation on truth / integration / experience). Although all three techniques have been outlined for acquiring Self-knowledge, these methodologies remain relevant and applicable even in today’s educational world. In light of the learning difficulties that students experience in online courses, adapting Vedic techniques to lesson design and lesson plans, especially in the first few weeks of school, might help to throw away the foundations for a successful inner journey from teacher dependence to independence and autonomy. -dependence on the subject.

Śravaṇa: To hear and listen to the guru

The first step, Åšravaṇa, refers to listening or listening to the Guru. In an online learning module, the lesson given by the teacher, in the form of audio-video lessons, readings or demonstrations, is the beginning of the learning. The teacher guides the student through the information, and the most important requirement is the student’s focus and attention. At this stage, the teacher reminds students to keep their minds clear of preconceptions and misconceptions about the topic, as well as prejudices about the topic of study. In How Adults Learn: A Reflective Essay (2017), Dr Sridevi Yerrabati says: “One of the things that surprised me was that the students relied on culturally and socially imposed experiences or preconceived notions, rather than what they had lived directly. Therefore, the teacher could assume that less clutter in the mind will make room for better concentration, which will likely make it easier on their way through the next two stages.

In light of Śravaṇa, an online module could be designed with a title that indicates the attitude required by the learner. The title might suggest how to approach the module. Here is an example:

  • Stage 1 of learning: listening / reading / comprehension (how focused are you?)

To such a module, in addition to readings and lectures, a teacher could add formative assessments and / or games that allow students to practice attention and concentration (without affecting the grade). Canvas Studio, Hot Potatoes, EdPuzzle and Quizlet are a few tools to achieve this. Åšravaṇa is also similar to Thornburg’s ‘campfire’ concept expressed in Campfires in cyberspace (2004). He says, “There is a sacred quality in teaching as storytelling, and this activity took place in sacred places, usually around the fire. The focal point of the flame, the sounds of the night, all provide a backdrop for the storyteller who shares his wisdom with the students who, in turn, become the storytellers of the next generation. In this sense, “campfire” is the sacred space of Åšravaṇa, the transmission of wisdom by the guru, and seems similar to cognitivism, but the student is not a passive recipient of knowledge but a determinant of the real meaning of it. It is the beginning of the apprenticeship. In today’s online environment, the role of the guru may have changed to that of a guide, but the framework remains the same as that of the triad: teacher, teaching medium, and student.

Manana: Reflect, contemplate and dispel doubts

From Śravaṇa, the students move on to Manana to reflect, contemplate and eliminate doubts. Here, they reason and analyze until they fully understand the subject dealt with. They work through doubts, misunderstandings and confusion in the analysis process. Their goal is to fully understand the teachings of the Guru. It is the space and time to question the teacher and discuss with classmates. Note-taking and repeated reading are necessary here, and such study takes time and requires discipline. In an e-learning module, the title of the module could be, for example:

  • Stage 2 of learning: reflect on the readings and convert understanding into knowledge. ”

The Manana module can organize discussions and other activities such as blogging and community conversations. Today’s learning management systems contain excellent discussion tools and are integrated with educational applications such as Padlet. In terms of Thornburg Campfires in cyberspace, Manana could connect to the ‘watering hole’, although in Vedic methodology Manana is linked to a question-and-answer session with the teacher, but the idea could equally well apply to a module in line. The emphasis is on reflection for the purpose of attaining wisdom. Manana, one can guess, approaches constructivism and the theories of social learning. It is important to reiterate that Manana is the act of digging deep into the derived information during the Åšravaṇa stage.

Nididhyasana: Deepening Knowledge and Achievements

From Manana, students move on to Nididhyasana, where knowledge deepens and achievements arise. This is the meditative stage where we are solo. The knowledge derived or constructed from the first two stages is internalized here to become a living reality. Learning is applied and practiced. Once the doubts are raised, the students move on to experience and conviction. The journey does not end there as Nididhyasana continues beyond the course. In reference to Thornburg, Nididhyasana could refer to the “cave” where one retires for deeper contemplation. In a learning module, this step could be titled as follows:

  • Stage 3 of learning: integration

Thornburg says: “There is another primordial learning environment of great importance: the cave, where we came into contact with ourselves. Operating in the full power of the Self is the Nididhyasana stage. In such a module, homework such as essays or exams can be included. Even if a group project was assigned, individual contributions would still require a solo retreat into the “cave” as well as a demonstration of the ability to apply knowledge or skills. This shows that Nididhyasana is essential for learning to realize oneself in the form of realization or wisdom.

In the Vedic era, great importance was placed on the mental environment of the student, as a healthy, attentive and focused mind would easily complete the journey from information to realization. These Vedic techniques seem to be more relevant and necessary today in view of struggling, overworked, disadvantaged and distracted students. If a learning technique can strengthen a student’s mind and is a proven 5,000-year-old methodology, then adding it to the teacher’s toolkit could be logical and rewarding for the student and the student. ‘teacher.

Nita Gopal is an English teacher at Modesto Junior College, California, and has been teaching online since 2006.

The references

Thornburg, David D. (2004). “Campfires in Cyberspace: Critical Metaphors for 21st Century Learning. ” International Journal of Distance Teaching and Learning Technology. Vol.1, No.10.

Yerrabati, Sridevi. (2017). “How Adults Learn: A Reflective Essay”. Compass: Journal of learning and teaching. FLIGHT. 10, n ° 1.

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