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The pandemic had a significant impact on learning, in many cases causing progress to slow down. This has created a learning gap for many students, who are now in catch up mode. 

So, what can we do in education to help mitigate these learning losses and close the learning gap? In this blog, we take a look at how the pandemic created a learning gap, and how we can use the principles of neuroplasticity in learning to close it.

This blog is a summary of our recent webinar, Recovering from pandemic learning losses and how to bridge the gap. If you’re interested in learning more and diving into this topic in more detail, the webinar is available on demand now. 

Pandemic Learning Gap - Webinar

How the pandemic created a learning gap

To deal with the pandemic, schools needed to shift their priorities and resources to, firstly, protecting the health and safety of students and staff, and then completely change their delivery mode to online learning. 

Students needed to also change how and where they learned - to being at home, away from their friends and having their parents be their in-person learning instructors. 

In fact, the entire family dynamic changed, as an added burden on parents causing stress on the family unit as a whole. In essence, everyone had the feeling we often have when we are in traffic that’s backed up - we are stuck and we feel trapped.

This resulted in:

  • Limited one-on-one and small group learning

  • Provision of general curriculum, with more blanket lessons rather than tailored to individual differences

  • A lack of teaching resources to support Individual Education Plans (IEPs)

  • Higher demand placed on assistive technology

Ultimately, this is a short list of examples that all contributed to a gap in student learning during the pandemic. The impact of the pandemic is that many students were “left behind”. 

Some common challenges now being faced by learners include:

  • A lack of self-regulation skills

  • Poor mental health and a lack of confidence

  • Dependency on assistive technology to access the curriculum

  • Learned helplessness and decline in independence 

  • Unidentified learning needs.

Over the pandemic, student learning needs have gone unidentified and untreated. There’s now a backlog in receiving a psychoeducational assessment and the diagnosis and support that goes along with it. 

In a traditional school curriculum, in the vast majority of cases, students with learning gaps will be put on compensatory programs that sees the learner as fixed. They work around the learner’s difficulties with modifications, assistive technology, individual education plans and accommodations. While these can help to some degree, they do not address the underlying cause of the learning gap.

Learning losses at all educational levels create growing gaps at each stage in school. For example, a gap that begins in kindergarten continues to grow at each learning stage as schools do not have the cognitive programming, like Arrowsmith, to help close the gaps.

How Arrowsmith Helps Close the Gap for Learning

Arrowsmith can help close the learning gap because we focus on the root cause of the learning difficulty. Once we understand the root of a student's learning gap, we then provide an individualized cognitive program that strengthens the weaker cognitive capacities responsible for learning. 

We do this by harnessing the power of neuroplasticity in cognitive-based exercises, so that students can become the sculptor of their own brain. Whether the gap is created because of the pandemic, a learning difficulty, or both, Arrowsmith can enhance a student’s cognitive profile to become an independent lifelong learner.

Arrowsmith changes the learner by using targeted cognitive exercises that are designed to increase cognitive function, strengthen weaker capacity and utilize the principles of neuroplasticity to change the brain and close the learning gap. 

Are you interested in learning more about how Arrowsmith can help close the learning gap that resulted from the pandemic? Get in touch with the Arrowsmith team of neuroplasticity experts todayBOOK A CONSULTATION


Jason Kinsey
Post by Jason Kinsey
February 16, 2023
After receiving his B. Ed. in 2000 from Nipissing University, Jason gained experience in both Northern Ontario and Atlanta, Georgia before joining Arrowsmith School. Jason’s life trajectory was permanently changed after becoming aware of Barbara Arrowsmith-Young’s revolutionary means of addressing learning difficulties. Since 2008, Jason has been fortunate to work with students and their families to help open doors that otherwise may have remained closed. Whether it has been in the classroom as a cognitive teacher, as a principal, or in Admissions, he has learned that being able to speak with families that are just discovering Arrowsmith for the first time is an absolute pleasure. Jason shares, “To be able to answer questions and let students and families know that, yes, we can help, is just about one of the best feelings in helping to carry Barbara Arrowsmith-Young’s work forward.” Jason is thankful that his own children have benefited from attending Arrowsmith – the Brain Change School.