Learning Loss is not just a “school” problem – it is the lifelong enemy of lifelong learning!

423250-ST-Learning-Loss-is-Real-Blog-ImageThe term learning loss refers to any specific or general loss of knowledge and skills or to reversals in academic progress, most commonly due to extended gaps or discontinuities in a student’s education.


I heard a sobering report on learning loss on NPR a couple of days ago.  Students fell behind, and did not learn what they should have learned, during the great COVID pandemic.  Way behind!  And, there is growing concern that some will never quite catch up. — By the way, the expert in the report prefers the phrase “missed learning”‘ to the phrase “lost learning.”

(I think it was this report:  click here to read and listen).

It got me to thinking…

I present synopses of books at two different gatherings each month. The first is my event:  the First Friday Book Synopsis, in-person in Dallas, and on Zoom.  Each month, I present synopses of two important and useful and thought-provoking business books.  (We are in our 25th year).

The other event is the Urban Engagement Book Club, sponsored by CitySquare.  At this event, I present a synopsis of one book dealing with issues of social justice:  poverty, homelessness; racial justice; education; among other issues. (We’ve met for over 15 years).

I frequently hear this kind of comment:  “I did not know this.”  Or, “I would never have read that book – I did not really know about that book — but I am grateful that you shared the key lessons and principles with us.” 

I think that what these comments reveal is that everyone has holes in their education; everyone suffers from some learning loss.

I know I do.

I know so much more about business issues than I would have known because I have carefully read, and presented synopses of, now over 400 business books over the years of our event.

And I know so much more about the causes of homelessness and poverty and racism; and the plight of those who suffer from such, from reading and presented synopses of now over 180 of these books.

And, every time I think I have learned something new, and valuable, and useful, I realize that there is yet so much more that I do not know.

Learning loss is not just a pandemic problem of school-age children.  It is a lifelong challenge for us all.  We could have learned so much more; but we never read the books that would have taught us much, nor did we keep probing and learning in other ways.

We coasted on what we learned back then.  And, we have not kept up…The Road Less Traveled

It reminds me of M. Scott Peck’s teaching about laziness, from his modern-day classic book The Road Less Traveled.  If love is the greatest human need and calling, which he affirms, then “laziness is love’s opposite.”  And, our lack of learning, as part of our laziness, keeps us from opening our minds and hearts to the needs of others; it is a failure to love – to love people, to love learning for the purpose of loving people more completely.

Though we certainly need to tackle the learning loss issues in our schools, we also need to tackle the learning loss issues in our quest for our own lifelong learning.

In other words, learning loss is a constant threat.

I have some simple advice to offer:  read more books!  Read more books that you might disagree with.  Read more books that cover history, or subjects, or ideas, that you know little to nothing about.  Read more books!

What are you doing to overcome your own learning loss?  That’s the challenge!


You might also consider checking out my synopses (for my business book presentations).  I record them (audio recordings), and you can listen, and follow along with my synopsis handouts.  Click here for our newest additions.

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