In the world of education, we hear the term “learning gaps” all the time. Moms are increasingly aware of this dreaded gap after e-learning took place over the past few months before summer arrived.
When a student begins to struggle or fall behind with their academic progression, we often refer to learning gaps as a reason why they are having trouble understanding the material. But what exactly are learning gaps, and how do they form? More importantly, how can we help close these gaps and get students back on track?
What Are Learning Gaps?
By definition, learning gaps are the difference between what a student is expected to have learned by a certain grade level versus what they have actually learned up to that point. In other words, a student is expected to have acquired a certain reading level by the time they complete any given grade or school year. If the student is not able to read books at this skill level by this age, we might consider a learning gap in reading and comprehension exists. We know this has dramatically gone into effect with e-learning in the last quarter of the 2019-2020 school year.
Why do learning gaps form? In general, learning gaps are compounding, which can be troublesome for students beginning to fall behind. But, it’s not always easy to identify. As learning is based on building blocks, students are always challenged to expand on topics over time and apply them to new concepts as they progress. Learning that is achieved at one grade level serves as the foundation on which the understanding of more complex ideas and concepts is built. This learning structure, that Tutor Doctor implements, grows throughout a student’s academic career, with new skills developing from the skills the student has already mastered. Not every student learns at the same pace, though – which is why what starts out as a small learning gap can eventually become a more serious problem. All moms can resonate with this as each of our children learn differently and over the past few months they were learning in one way, online…during a pandemic. Reason enough for a learning gap.
What Causes Learning Gaps?
Let’s use an example to show how easily learning gaps can form. For middle and high school students, algebra is often considered to be a stepping stone towards higher mathematics. During first year algebra, students are taught how to manipulate variables and solve equations. If a student barely passes the class and doesn’t truly feel comfortable with algebraic concepts, math courses will continue to become harder. Geometry often comes next – and even though students may be working more with shapes and angles, many of the concepts are still the same: solving for an unknown variable. As you can see, learning gaps are caused when concepts at the foundation level are not fully learned by a student and they continue to struggle as new concepts are taught on top of previous ones. When a student starts to fall behind, it’s important that we address these gaps early on.
One-to-one tutoring is an ideal solution for students dealing with learning gaps and other academic struggles. As every student has a unique learning style and pace, a Tutor Doctor is able to adjust the level of instruction towards an individual student’s needs – something that just isn’t possible in a group classroom environment. Students often feel uncomfortable speaking up in class, especially when they know they’re falling behind. For this reason, a skilled educator offering personalized instruction is one of the best ways to approach learning gaps.
In psychology, this is referred to as the “zone of proximal development” (often referred to as ZPD). This concept describes the benefits of having a skilled individual for help. By definition, ZPD refers to “the difference between what a learner can do without help and what he or she can achieve with guidance and encouragement from a skilled partner (SimplyPsychology).” With one-to-one support and the ability to ask questions at their own pace, students can experience a serious academic boost when working with an expert tutor. Tutor Doctor is here to help get your littles back on track before the next school year arrives.
Address Learning Gaps With Help From Tutor Doctor
Learning gaps need to be identified, analyzed, and approached with patience. Students all have different strengths, and there are many reasons why learning gaps form to begin with. At Tutor Doctor, we believe personalized instruction is the most effective way to address these challenges. By catering instruction to each unique student, we can ensure that a student’s academic gaps will be approached with the individual’s learning style in mind. Find a Tutor Doctor location near you and start addressing the gaps in your student’s learning today!