Making Up for Lost Time: Unfinished Learning

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The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the learning landscape in an unprecedented way. Many students have had to pivot from in-person to online learning to continue their education amidst shutdowns and quarantine periods—and unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon.

Schools that maintained traditional education models and failed to adapt with the times have seen major setbacks and gaps in learning. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, roughly 4.8 million children in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19 during the course of the pandemic. No fewer than 90% of students have been impacted by exposure or school closures, leading to an estimated 70% loss in math and reading learning gains, per the Brookings Institution.

Now more than ever, it’s important for schools to have a plan for learning continuity. Learning management systems and adaptive software ensure students can still have meaningful access to learning if they must quarantine, but aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Mitigating unfinished learning can only happen when these tools are personalized to students at different levels of mastery.

Teachers and school administrators carry the heavy burden to both educate students and find ways to help them connect with one another during these trying times. Thankfully, many schools have invested in the necessary technology to help students resolve any unfinished learning they may have experienced as a result of the pandemic. But teachers often need additional training to effectively integrate this technology into personalized learning and blended strategies to engage students, inspire relationship-building among their classes, and bridge the gap to any unfinished learning. 

Professional development around unfinished learning can help.

The Arizona Virtual Teacher Institute (AZVTI) is addressing these concerns head on by introducing its Unfinished Learning training program to teachers across the state. This comprehensive professional development program features virtual training sessions related to technology and innovation, social-emotional learning, and engagement best practices to close learning gaps and help teachers make a positive impact.

“Each course is designed to help teachers navigate the umbrella of unfinished learning in their classroom, whether in-person, virtual or blended,” said Betsy Fowler, M.Ed., Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives at ASU Prep Digital. “We encourage teachers to personalize their professional development with options that support their own gaps or areas of growth as it relates to their unique classroom of students.”

Courses in the AZVTI Unfinished Learning program launching this fall include: 

    • Blended Learning Practices –  Elementary Level
    • Blended Learning Practices – Secondary Level
    • Social-Emotional Learning
    • Returning to School: A Flexible Approach
    • Establishing a Positive Mask Culture in Schools
    • Approaching Learning Recovery through Accelerated Learning
    • And more

Courses share evidence-based strategies and practical applications to implement in the classroom. Any Arizona teacher, school staff member, substitute teacher or aspiring teacher can join sessions for free, both for personal growth and to collaborate with others in the field. Custom sessions for entire schools are also available by emailing

For more information and to register for sessions, please visit the professional development page.