The learning process, whether through formal methods like academics or informal ones like practical experiences, is rarely linear. A learning gap happens when students find it challenging to understand core concepts they should have mastered in a previous grade level. Learning gaps are a significant concern in primary education since students’ academic progress depends upon sequential learning.
If last week’s concept is unclear for a student, they might not follow the lessons for this week. If this keeps up, the learning gap can widen, making it challenging for the child to catch up with peers. Here are common struggles learners have faced during the pandemic and how tutoring services can help them cope.
Typically, learning gaps emerge from two situations. The first is when a student does not fully understand a previous concept, so new ones that build on it do not make sense. A typical scenario is a student not understanding multiplication. If the class moves on to percentages, the student who doesn’t know how to multiply will not understand the new topic.
Another situation that creates learning gaps is time off from school. Students lose their learning gains during extended breaks. Educators know this as the “summer slide,” but it can happen at any time students are away from school for too long. The COVID-19 pandemic has unfortunately created significant learning gaps in many students.
Children might be having trouble with distance learning if they spend less time on homework and assignments. If they typically spend three hours a day doing homework but now only do one or two hours—if at all—they might be having difficulties with the medium of instruction. An unfortunate side effect of remote learning is the ease with which students can ignore assignments. It is easier to neglect links or bullet points on a computer screen than a take-home assignment that teachers could discuss with them face-to-face.
Despite these difficulties, teachers are still doing their best in providing the level of education that students could expect from them during typical school years. Virtual classes still begin and finish during school hours, so students should expect to put in the same work. A child struggling to separate home life from learning could benefit from tutoring services. A tutor can help them develop good study habits.
Another sign to watch for is if they have trouble discussing their school day. When you ask them open-ended questions about the things they have learned or if there is anything important they need to do during the week, they should be able to provide more than one-liner responses. If children struggle to answer questions like these, they might be finding it tough to focus during the school day.
The transition from learning in school to learning at home has made it so difficult for some children to focus on studies. It is easier to get distracted when you have all the comforts of home surrounding you. Even the most dedicated student might start zoning out.
Distance learning is harder on some students than others. The school closures in early 2020 caused many students to fall behind on reaching required learning goals for their grade level. Meanwhile, recent studies show that students who went back to school in the fall of last year had only 37 to 50 percent of their learning gains in Math and 63 to 68 percent of their gains in English.
Tutors can help mitigate this situation—most tutors are education majors or specialists in their field, and they have experience with learning gaps. A tutor will know how to walk a student back to what they understand, dissect the unfamiliar concepts that come after, and slowly connect them to the current lessons.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, a learner would have peaks and troughs in growth. They might show plenty of improvement all at once and seemingly have none for months on end. Learning gaps are common among young students, even during a typical school year. However, parents—who might not be familiar with the stages of learning—might see their child exhibit a learning gap and think that something is wrong. Tutoring can help a student course-correct and learn at a pace appropriate for his grade level.
Get your student back on track with tutoring services from Apex Tutors. We offer virtual tutoring nationwide and in-home tutoring at our locations in Los Angeles, CA, and Fort Collins, CO, and we accommodate students of all ages and learning goals. Call us today to learn more!