Research Database

Vulnerable learners in the age of COVID-19: A scoping review

Type of Publication: Journal article

Lead Organisation: NCSEHE

Year Published: 2020

Lead Researcher: Catherine Drane

Catherine Drane, Lynette Vernon and Sarah O’Shea

Originally published in The Australian Educational Researcher
Published online 27 November 2020


This scoping review provides an overview of COVID-19 approaches to managing unanticipated school closures and available literature related to young people learning outside-of-school. A range of material has been drawn upon to highlight educational issues of this learning context, including psychosocial and emotional repercussions. Globally, while some countries opted for a mass school shut-down, many schools remained open for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. This partial closure not only enabled learning in smaller targeted groups but also offered a safe sanctuary for those who needed a regulated and secure environment. In Australia, if full school closures were to be enforced over a long period, a significant proportion of students from more vulnerable backgrounds would likely experience persistent disadvantage through a range of barriers: long-term educational disengagement, digital exclusion, poor technology management, and increased psychosocial challenges. This scoping review combines research on technology availability and learning, with analysis of the long-term educational impacts of navigating the COVID-19 disruption.

Read the full article here. 

Content republished under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Posted 27 November 2020