A BETTER RETURN ON TRAINING INVESTMENT (PART 2)
In Part 1, we looked at the different types of learning story and introduced the concept of Accelerative Learning. In this post we explore the history of Accelerative Learning, how it is defined and the key principles for designing an AL program.
Where did AL come from?
The father of AL is the Bulgarian psychiatrist Dr. Georgi Lozanov. Dr Lazanov’s initial work in the 1960s was called “Suggestopedia”. He discovered that creating a positive and supportive learning environment that puts people into a state of “relaxed alertness” had a significant impact on learning outcomes (Smith 2006).
Dr. Lazonov’s work was built upon by Dr. Evelyn Gateva with Curriculum and Instructional Design; Libyan Labiosa Cassone who coined the term Accelerative Learning; Professor Stephen Krashen with Language Acquisition; Dr. Roger Sperry’s brain research (awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1981); Professor Howard Gardner with Multiple Intelligences; Professor Marian Diamond and the Enriched Learning Environment and Professor James Asher with Total Physical Response.
Other contributions over the years have included Tony Buzan’s work on memory, Brandler and Grinder’s work on Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Czikszentmihalyi’s work on human fulfilment and flow among many others.
It is a long lineage of research bringing AL to the powerful multi-method, multimedia learning technique that it is today.
How is AL defined?
Accelerative Learning, also known as Accelerated Learning in the corporate world, is defined as “a method of instruction that provides an atmosphere where students are able to absorb and retain concepts by overcoming traditional barriers of learning” (McKeon 1995). It is a combination of neuroscience, cognitive psychology and instructional design which involves training facilitators, creating content and developing material (Labiosa 1996).
What are the principles of AL?
So how does it work? AL training is designed and delivered around a number of key principles which can be summarised as follows (CAL 2019):
1. Learning involves the whole of the body and mind
The learning approach is designed to engage the learner's body, senses, creativity and emotions and not just the “head” centred rational and verbal consciousness.
2. Learning is created and not consumed
The learner actively creates knowledge as opposed to absorbing it. This is not a passive process of sitting and listening but an active process of integrating new knowledge and skills into the learners existing structure of self.
3. Collaboration facilitates learning
Research indicates that creating competition between learners slows learning down whereas creating collaboration speeds it up. People often learn more by interacting with peers than by any other means. Creating collaboration is a central tenet of any AL program.
4. Learning takes place on many different levels simultaneously
The brain does not work sequentially, in a linear way but is a parallel processor which thrives when challenged to do many things at once. AL engages people on many different levels simultaneously; using all the receptors, senses and pathway it can to bring the learning into the person's full brain and body system.
5. Learning comes from doing and feedback
Information learned in isolation, without a frame of reference, is quickly forgotten. By ensuring Immediate practical application of knowledge, or learning by doing, AL provides the brain with the context and frame of reference for long term retention. AL also provides time for immersion, feedback, reflection and re-immersion to lock learning in.
6. Positive emotions greatly improve learning
Learning that is associated with negative emotional states such as stress, frustration, discomfort or boredom is quickly left behind. By actively creating feelings of relaxation, fun and engagement, AL creates a higher quality of learning and retention.
7. The image brain absorbs information instantly and automatically
The human nervous system is a far more powerful image processor than it is a word processor. Images are easier to process, understand and retain than verbal abstractions. By translating verbal content into images of all kinds, AL makes training content faster to learn and easier to remember.
In Part 3, we look at the AL Cycle for success, how AL shows up in the classroom and the delivery approach, content and benefits of an AL program.
Sources and References:
Bathla, Som (2018). “The Magic of Accelerated Learning: Discover Strategies for Effective Learning, Improved Memorisation, Sharpened Focus and Become an Expert in Any Skill You Want”
Conners, K (2018). “Accelerated Learning: Advanced Strategies for Improved Memorisation, Effective Listening and Increased Productivity”
Kinnard, Karen (2007). “The Accelerated Learning Cycle: Are You Ready to Learn? Am I Ready to Lead?"
Labiosa, Libyan; Atkisson, Alan (1996). “Accelerated Learning - The value of playing games, singing songs, listening to stories and how learning is improved by the power of suggestion”
Labiosa, Libyan; Randig, Sinéad; Cassone, Philip (2018). “The Accelerative Learning Road Less Travelled”
McKeon, Kevin J. (1995). "What is this Thing Called Accelerated Leaming?" Training and Development Journal, Vol. 49, No. 6.
Nitsche, Pearl (2017). “Nonverbal Classroom Management - Group Strategies that Work”
Schornack, Gary (1996). “Accelerated Learning Techniques for Adults - An Instructional Design Concept for the Next Decade”
Smith, Alastair (2016). “Accelerated Learning in Practice”
Wilkens, Jonathan (2017). “Accelerated Learning: Accelerated Learning Techniques, Memory Techniques, Improve Your Memory, Learn More in Less”
Zemke, Ron (1995). "Accelerated Leaming: madness with a method," Training and Development Journal, Vol. 32, No. l 0
(CAL 2019). The Center for Accelerated Learning
(ICAL 2019). International Centre for Accelerative Learning (ICAL)
(Administrate 2018). Administrate Group
(Watson 2013). CCW Consulting LLC