Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) for the Digital Age

Nov 9, 2019 by

What is SEL

Technology is changing everything about the world. It is even changing how we interact with people. Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process, in which children come to understand the importance of emotions, even in the Digital Age. It involves managing, expressing, and demonstrating emotions. This is essential for all our interactions, both in real-time and via digital platforms. It is proven that those who have high levels of emotional intelligence are more likely to flourish as a person, for example, they have more resilience.

The aim of this type of learning is to enable children to be more empathetic so that they have better communication skills, which is important in their social development (1).

What can SEL do?

SEL education can help children to succeed in the Digital Age. It can enable them to work better with others, show compassion and develop good relationships with their peers(2). This form of education is essential for the future, emotional, social and psychological wellbeing of a child. SEL also has proven academic benefits. By teaching children compassion and empathy they are better able to interact with their fellow pupils and teachers. They can be fully integrated into the learning community and this enables them to have better academic outcomes and can even reduce drop-out rates (3).

SEL can help children and even adults to flourish in the world of work, even in a connected workplace. Today collaboration and teamwork are more important than ever. If individuals, improve their social skills and emotional intelligence, through SEL, they are more likely to be professionally successful. This form of instruction also helps children to be self-aware, this means that they can have better relationships and are more confident, in the workplace. Leadership is now seen as essential for success in all walks of life. SEL can help students to be better leaders. This is because it enables them to make better decisions and to inspire people to achieve their goals, even in a connected workplace (4).

How is SEL taught

This form of learning is based on activities. SEL takes place in a creative learning environment that is very popular with students, especially for those with disabilities (5). It creates a classroom environment that is equitable and supportive. This form of learning involves teaching through activities, tasks, and scenarios.

SEL typically takes place via connected platforms and in a connected classroom. Digital tools are used to instruct children and to provide them with tasks that are stimulating.

Digital tools are a great way for children to achieve the goals of SEL. Digital technologies provide them with a private and secure environment where they can explore their emotions and interact with their peers, in meaningful ways.

Because young people will spend so much of their lives online, they need to acquire emotional skills that will allow them to communicate and show compassion in the new digital age.

Barriers to SEL learning

Despite the proven benefits of SEL learning, there are a number of barriers. These include

Lack of support from school leadership

Teachers complain about a lack of training and resources

However, these barriers can be overcome. Here is a link to a FREE lesson plan from EVERFI

It can support teachers as they teach children, some of the most important of all skills such as compassion, empathy, and resilience.


Zins, J. E., Payton, J. W., Weissberg, R. P., & O’Brien, M. U. (2007). Social and emotional learning for successful school performance <>

Lawlor, M. S. (2016). Mindfulness and social emotional learning (SEL): A conceptual framework. In Handbook of mindfulness in education (pp. 65-80). Springer, New York, NY <>

Zins, J. E. (Ed.). (2004). Building academic success on social and emotional learning: What does the research say?. Teachers College Press <>

Weissberg, R. P., & O’Brien, M. U. (2004). What works in school-based social and emotional learning programs for positive youth development. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 591(1), 86-97 <>

Elias, M. J. (2004). The connection between social-emotional learning and learning disabilities: Implications for intervention. Learning Disability Quarterly, 27(1), 53-63 <>

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