Pandemic Learning Loss Affecting Adults Just as Much as Children


Photo © Courtesy of ABC Life Literacy Canada

As children across the country go back to school after several months off from in-person learning, parents and educators are rightly concerned about the learning loss accumulated throughout the pandemic. However, it’s not just children being affected by learning loss; adults are being impacted as well.

A recent OECD report indicated that workplace shutdowns due to COVID-19 had a negative effect on the ability of adults to participate in learning and training opportunities. For many adults, learning is often done informally in the workplace, so without the ability to attend a place of employment, skills are being lost. These learning opportunities will not be easily recovered and will be felt both in terms of business productivity and workers’ wages in the future.

Learning at work has been shown to positively impact wages and productivity, making it a worthwhile investment for both workers and their employers. Modest investments in skills training can translate into substantial gains in workers’ skills and job performance, as well as increases in employment, job retention, and cost savings from reduced errors and waste. According to the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum, on average, a one-dollar investment in training returns a benefit to the employer of $1.38.

The lack of learning opportunities throughout the pandemic has hit those who needed it most. Not only are lower-skilled workers more likely to rely on informal learning for skill development, but they also work in sectors that are more likely to be shut down and unable to offer remote working. According to the OECD report, the average worker missed between 60 and 90 minutes of informal learning per week during the lockdown, accounting for more than 75 hours of missed learning opportunities throughout the past 18 months.

Photo © Courtesy of ABC Life Literacy Canada

One way for adults to keep up with their learning during this time is through free online learning tools like the ABC Skills Hub. The ABC Skills Hub is a free, asynchronous, at-home
delivery of ABC Life Literacy Canada’s many adult literacy programs. The ABC Skills Hub offers a variety of literacy and learning programs, including employability and life skills as well as financial literacy skills, with new courses added each month. It adheres to CLAD (Clear Language and Design) principles and prioritizes accessible navigation, from setting up an account, to learning.

With the ABC Skills Hub, learners can complete online courses at their own pace, save their work in progress, and download course content and helpful reminders of what they’ve learned. The ABC Skills Hub is fully accessible on both mobile and desktop, and all privacy, data, and personal information are well-protected.

“While many adults spend most of their time learning on the job, during critical times such as these, it’s important to find alternate ways to keep your skills sharp,” says Elizabeth Robinson, Programs Director at ABC Life Literacy Canada. “We created the ABC Skills Hub specifically for adult learners who want to improve their skills and their job prospects at their own pace, in a welcoming and easy manner.”

The ABC Skills Hub will soon add new features, such as teacher and organization portals, where teachers can set up “virtual classrooms” for learners, and where organizations can keep track of multiple teachers and groups of learners across a variety of courses.

To access the free courses on the ABC Skills Hub, visit to create an account.


“There’s so much good stuff on the ABC Skills Hub. Ready to use and user friendly.”

“I’m loving the ABC Skills Hub. I just went through their new adaptability course and it’s clean and easy to use!”

“I have already assigned one of my remote learners who is struggling with Skills for Learning to start with the Stress Management module.”

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ABC Skills Hub is happy to help you to start learning anywhere and at your own pace.


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