A Toolbox of Adaptations for Online Delivery of SEL Programming


Currie, C., Rajanbabu, P., & King, D. (2022). A toolbox of adaptations for online delivery of SEL programming. Journal of Online Learning Research, 8(1). https://www.learntechlib.org/primary/p/220258/ 


The COVID-19 pandemic exposed students to increased social-emotional stressors and instigated an emergency pivot to online teaching and learning. In doing so, it highlighted the need for effective social-emotional learning (SEL) programming in online learning environments. In response, this study explored how to adapt a widely used, traditional, school-based SEL program for online delivery. This small study describes a partnership between SEL researchers and educators that identified lesson components that were problematic for online delivery, designed potential online adaptations, and tested the feasibility of those online adaptations in an online learning context. Lesson review data, observational data from lesson rehearsals, as well as interview data were collected from teachers and counselors who teach SEL in schools across the US. Descriptive and thematic coding of the qualitative data indicated teacher-reported online delivery issues fell into six major categories: 1) partner work; 2) small-group work; 3) whole-class discussions; 4) role-playing; 5) physical movement; and 6) student handouts. For each of these six categories, at least five adaptation options were generated, allowing teachers choice and variety as well as developmental attunement when adapting instructional practices for online delivery. Taken together, the results of this study culminated in the creation of a toolbox of online adaptations that teachers can use when converting common instructional practices from face-to-face teaching to online, distance teaching. This study contributes to the underdeveloped research literature on online SEL teaching and learning by providing recommendations that are teacher-generated and tested, applicable to other SEL and academic programs, and practical for educators to implement.


  • Currie, Cailin
  • King, Danara
  • Rajanbabu, Poojashree

Reference Type



  • Social-emotional learning