Six Strategies To Address Learning Loss

Learning Loss: 6 strategies to address it

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Learning Loss

In the last two years, we’ve heard quite a lot about “learning loss,” “learning gap” and “learning recovery” without really understanding what those terms mean or how they affect us. Since the disruption of COVID-19, researchers, policymakers, and education leaders have been attempting to assess how much learning Indian students have missed since March 2020.

Concerns have been brought up about the short-and long-term effects on students’ academic progress and behavioural changes. Though the Finance Minister announced a digital university and 200 TV channels under the e-Vidya scheme, there is little to no discussion of improving school infrastructure to mitigate the learning loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government also neglected to allocate more funds to improve the quality of education in our country, as well as to re-enroll out-of-school children and provide them with financial and social support. 

However, educators may find it difficult to answer questions like “What approaches can school leaders and teachers use to address potential learning disruptions and instructional gaps from the last two years?” “Can they solve the problems of pre-existing learning inequalities that were magnified by the pandemic?”

Regression in learning: Socio-Economic Status

According to a study by the Azim Premji Foundation conducted in August 2021, the lockdown has impacted the learning ability and skill levels of the students of this country. 

When students miss school, they stop learning new things. Equally alarming is the widespread phenomenon of ​”forgetting” what they had already learnt, the study stressed.

“This overall loss of learning – loss (regression or forgetting) of what children learned in previous classes and what they did not have the opportunity to learn in the current class – is going to lead to a cumulative loss over the years,” it concludes, adding that the new phenomenon has impacted not only children’s academic performance in school but also their adult lives. They called it “regression in learning”.

What is learning loss and how to address it?

Learning loss refers to the decline or setback in academic progress experienced by students, often resulting from extended periods away from traditional learning environments such as classrooms. To address learning loss effectively, educators can consider implementing the following strategies:
1) Assessment: Conducting diagnostic assessments to identify areas of weakness and gaps in learning.
2) Individualized Support: Providing targeted interventions and personalized learning plans to address specific areas of need for each student.
3) Engagement Strategies: Utilizing interactive and hands-on teaching methods to enhance student engagement and motivation.
4) Remedial Instruction: Offering additional tutoring, remedial classes, or online resources to reinforce foundational concepts and skills.
5) Collaboration: Collaborating with parents, caregivers, and community stakeholders to support student learning both inside and outside the classroom.
6) Flexible Learning Models: Implementing flexible scheduling and learning models to accommodate diverse learning styles and individual needs.
7) Social-Emotional Support: Prioritizing social-emotional learning and mental health support to help students cope with challenges and build resilience.
8) Continuous Monitoring: Continuously monitoring student progress and adjusting instruction as needed to ensure ongoing academic growth and success.

6 strategies to apply and deal with “Learning Loss”

Let’s talk about strategies for mitigating learning loss so students can get back some semblance of normalcy and make notable learning gains despite the pandemic.

So, how can schools and teachers address the issue of “learning loss” in a constructive way? What strategies can help students readjust to school life and combat learning loss stemming from the pandemic?

1. Measuring the “Gaps”

Adjusting instruction to accommodate children’s learning requirements and focusing on important foundational skills is required. As schools reopen, it is essential to monitor students’ learning levels.

Targeting instruction to a child’s learning level, such as grouping children by level all day or part of the day, has been found to be cost-effective in helping children catch up. Attaining foundational literacy and numeracy for all children must become an immediate national mission.

2. Teaching core skills using “Bridge” content 

Bridging is a well-intended strategy of teaching old and new material that focuses on regular review of specific topics over the course of 6-week or so.

This assumes a strong foundation of structured education for all children who are now years behind their expected learning levels and require targeted interventions to catch up on what they learned in the previous class and how.

“Bridge” content, a remedial step, is a different way of dealing with lost learning and ensuring that all students have a strong foundation for future learning.

3. Emphasising content that are prerequisites to future learning

The first thing you should do as a teacher is to identify missed learning standards and all content that is a prerequisite to further learning. It’s possible that students didn’t fully comprehend the material. A student, for example, will not succeed in basic English unless he or she first masters grammar.

4. Creating a different schedule, reshaping curriculum

Let’s start by grouping children by learning and competency and altering assessments from common grade-level exams to measurements of proficiency and skills.

Try to craft a completely different schedule for the first few months of the school year with longer blocks for addressing missed learning standards and content that are prerequisites for future learning. 

For courses like math, where prior-year knowledge is a core prerequisite for future learning, extra instructional time will be needed for all students to cover missing chapters or acquire missed ideas alongside the current-year curriculum. 

5. Being flexible

Whether a teacher may be working to reach students in the classroom, in a remote setting, or perhaps a combination of the two, changes to the learning environment can impact each student’s learning path in different ways and the right educational technology can help educators in facilitating learning, no matter when or where it happens.

6. Adding more quality teachers

Not only do schools require more infrastructure, but they also need more quality teachers. The teacher shortage is real, and it has serious ramifications. India’s enduring ‘crisis of learning’ can only be resolved if schools seriously consider this.

Instability in the workplace has a negative impact on student achievement and reduces teacher effectiveness and quality. Getting more teachers on board is critical to accomplishing this. We need to invest in teachers’ professional development and use technology to enhance their skills and do their jobs better.

Feasibility Chart on bringing  learning loss strategies in schools

The ‘Future of Learning’

We should not go back to what was. Our chance to shape the future of learning begins with reimagining education. Though the crisis may not be averted, it does provide an opportunity to transform education and help the next generation evolve with future-ready skills and creativity. We cannot let today’s crisis become a crisis for generations to come. 

There is no single path toward the future of learning, so we must seize the opportunity and build a system that is:

Equitable : Where schools and homes have the conditions and support for learning

Effective : Where teachers and schools are equipped to support each and every student

Resilient : Where schools are safe and well-managed

The pandemic also provides an opportunity to start implementing a vision for the Future of Learning, in which all children learn with excitement and joy, and purpose in school and beyond. Indeed, this is a unique opportunity to reimagine education and part of the response entails ensuring every child continues to learn.

Conclusion

Implementing targeted strategies is essential for addressing learning loss effectively. By focusing on individualized support, engagement, remedial instruction, collaboration, flexible learning models, and social-emotional support, educators can help students recover lost ground and progress academically. These approaches aim to identify and address specific areas of weakness while fostering a supportive and inclusive learning environment, ultimately empowering students to succeed and thrive despite the challenges posed by learning loss.

FAQs

1. What are the 6 key learning strategies?

The six key learning strategies include active learning, elaboration, retrieval practice, spaced practice, interleaved practice, and concrete examples.

2. What strategies can you use to improve your learning?

To improve learning, one can utilize strategies such as breaking down information into smaller chunks, using mnemonic devices, practicing regularly, teaching others, seeking feedback, and staying organized. If you are looking to enhance the learning methods in your school through effective teacher training and various learning styles, Varthana stands ready as your ideal partner to nurture your school’s development and progress.

3. What are your learning strategies?

Personal learning strategies can vary but commonly involve techniques like taking notes, creating study guides, using visual aids, discussing topics with peers, and setting goals.

4. What are 5 ways to make learning easier?

Making learning easier can involve techniques like breaking tasks into smaller steps, using mnemonic devices, creating a conducive study environment, staying organized, and seeking help when needed.

5. What is effective learning in education?

Effective learning in education involves actively engaging with the material, understanding concepts deeply, applying knowledge in different contexts, receiving timely feedback, and reflecting on learning experiences to improve understanding and retention.

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