How to Identify & Bridge Learning Gaps in K-12 Education?

February 9, 2024 | By: Extramarks

How to Identify & Bridge Learning Gaps in K-12 Education

Learning gaps are a significant challenge in any education system. Despite the efforts of talented teachers, an enthusiastic response from students, and good marks on a report card – learning gaps exist in every education system. If the learning gaps are not bridged on time, they may widen and adversely affect your students’ learning efforts. In India, according to the Annual Status of Education Report 2022, significant learning gaps continue to persist in education {SOURCE}.

As per the ASER 2022, the percentage of children in Class 3 who should be able to read at the class 2 Level dropped from 27.3% in 2018 to 20.5% in 2022. In class 5, the students who should be able to read at the class 2 level have fallen from 50.5% in 2018 to 42.8% in 2022. It is time for the Indian education leaders to step up and bridge the learning gaps to improve the system. This article will discuss the different types of learning gaps, how to identify a learning gap and the ways to close a learning gap among your learners.

What is a Learning Gap?

A learning gap is the disparity between what a student has mastered and what is expected at their particular grade or level. A learning gap could be in one subject or the overall education. If a student has learning gaps among the basic concepts of a subject, it may snowball into a big problem as they grow older and are expected to learn more complex ideas.

Types of Learning Gaps

Understanding the reasons and kinds of learning gaps among learners can equip teachers to close the gaps and improve student learning outcomes. Like learning styles, learning gaps are also unique to every student. However, they can be categorised mainly into five types.

  1. Knowledge Gap: When a student does not know the right information, it is known as a knowledge gap. For example, we know that the Second World War occurred but do not know the year it started.
  2. Skills Gap: Students may lack the practice or mastery of skills they need to pursue a subject. For example, they do not know how to use a saw in woodcraft class.
  3. Motivation Gap: A student who lacks the motivation or desire to learn a new concept has a motivation gap. For example, children from low-income families are more motivated to earn and feed their families than coming to school to learn.
  4. Environmental Gap: Some students do not have access to a conducive learning environment, known as an environmental gap. For example, a student who struggles to complete their homework because the environment in their home is noisy or troubled.
  5. Communication Gap: Students may lack the necessary communication skills to learn or express a concept in their study. For example, a student struggling to explain a complex mathematical concept can easily solve a mathematical problem for the same topic.

How to Identify a Learning Gap?

Standardised assessments do little to help educators identify learning gaps among their students. However, not every teacher will have the time to conduct one-to-one sessions with their students to determine their learning gaps. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to identify learning gaps among students. Once identified, teachers can close these gaps and improve the students’ learning experience quality. Here is a look at some ways to identify learning gaps –

  1. Assessment: Setting assessments to check how much the students have learned in the class is a traditional but effective way of finding learning gaps. Pinpointing the areas where students are more or less proficient can help teachers customise their lesson plans to address the learning gaps.
  2. Classroom Observation: It is enough for teachers with years of experience to observe their classes to identify students’ learning gaps. Before they begin a new topic, teachers can conduct a pop quiz or a quick class assessment before proceeding. It will help the teachers identify learning gaps.
  3. Student Feedback: Talking to students about their learning experience one-on-one can make a significant difference in identifying learning gaps in students.
  4. Curriculum Analysis: Teachers should critically analyse their curriculum and make suggestions to help students with learning gaps. For example, to teach students calculus, teachers can assign a set of books with simpler concepts that all students can revise before starting with calculus.
  5. Parent Inputs: Teachers and parents must partner to design and execute the annual action plan. When teachers and parents support each other and respect inputs from one another, the learning gaps can easily be identified and bridged.

How to Close Learning Gaps?

Learning gaps are unique, and there can be many innovative ways to close them. Educators must learn the art of identifying learning gaps, which can impact a student’s capacity for future learning and career paths. Here is a look at some strategies to close learning gaps in your class –

  1. Diagnostic Assessment: Conducting a preliminary exam to determine the level of understanding students have before starting a new session. Before beginning the new lessons, they can spend a few weeks focusing on learning gaps and closing them. It can significantly improve a student’s learning experience in that academic year.
  2. Community Hubs: During school hours, teachers may have limited opportunities to make extra efforts to bridge the learning gap. Parents and community members can create community hubs where students can refresh their concepts or learn extra to cover their learning gaps.
  3. Peer Support: Students who excel in a subject can be peer tutors for those with learning gaps. Students may feel more comfortable discussing their doubts and confusions with their friends than with a grown-up. Peer support can help effectively bridge learning gaps.
  4. Bridge Course: Bridge courses are meant to add to a student’s existing knowledge and bring them up to speed with the rest of the class. Based on the results of diagnostic assessments, students can be assigned to an appropriate bridge course wherein they can strengthen their concepts.
  5. Leverage Classroom Technology: Teachers can use technology to support students with learning gaps. Using applications like Smart Class Plus by Extramarks can help students find all useful resources in one place. Advanced educational technology can help teachers efficiently bridge learning gaps by allowing students to learn anytime and from anywhere.
  6. Professional Development for Teachers: Helping teachers learn new skills and perfect their subject matter expertise through professional development programs for teachers. They can learn new ways to manage their classrooms and cater to individual learning needs. If teachers learn to customise their lessons according to their student’s individual learning needs, they can easily bridge learning gaps in their classes.
  7. Personalised Learning – In the personalised learning approach, teachers tailor their instructional approach to suit the distinctive learning styles of each student. Teachers use additional resources, one-on-one tuition, extra practice sheets, and online resources to help students with learning gaps.
  8. Differentiated Instruction: When teachers draft differentiated lesson plans to cater to the learning needs of different students, the process is known as differentiated instruction. It helps teachers engage and instruct all the students better, thus improving learning outcomes and bridging learning gaps wherever needed.
  9. Feedback & Reflection: A lack of proper feedback and reflection leads to learning gaps in education. Educators should ensure that students receive regular feedback highlighting areas of improvement and appreciate their strengths. Teachers should also encourage self-reflection, wherein they think about their learning and the difficulties they faced in their learning journey and develop a plan to address them.

All students have some learning gaps in their educational journey. It is up to parents and educators to identify the learning gaps and provide students with opportunities to close the learning gaps.

How to Use Extramarks to Close Learning Gaps?

Extramarks Teacher’s App enables teachers to analyse student learning outcomes and mould their pedagogy to suit their students’ learning styles. 360-degree teaching solutions for all boards and classes empower teachers to take online courses, create tests, and check homework online. It helps manage online classrooms and in-person classes to ensure that no learning gaps remain at the end of a course.

If The Teachers in Your School Need Help Managing Learning Gaps in Their Classes, Talk to the Experts at Extramarks!!

Enrol with Extramarks Teachers App now!

Last Updated on February 16, 2024

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