Old Accelerated Learning

Which would you prefer?

A learning environment that

  • focuses on competition
  • is trainer centered
  • where learners “sit and get”
  • is based on reward and punishment
  • is content driven
  • encourages the inner message: “I never could and never will be able to do that.

A learning environment that

  • allows for involvement and interaction
  • is learner centered
  • offers variety and choice
  • and collaboration, learning and development
  • and the spirit of, “You can do it!

Suggestopedia

Accelerated Learning is a teaching and learning model which is based on the original work from Dr. Georgi Lozanov in the 1960s. (Read more here.) He named this model, Suggestopedia.
Throughout the past decades as we have learned more about learning and brain functions as well as human development, this approach to learning has been continually updated and refined thus including new ideas, techniques, best practice and learning models placing AL on the cutting edge in the world of teaching, training and learning.
It is a method which addresses the needs of all learning styles and modalities; it is motivating, creative, varied, playful, and structured. Consequently, the learning process is accelerated.

In the foreground is the implementation of the newly acquired information and skills into one’s business and/or personal life.
Accelerated Learning provides guidelines to everyone who facilitates learning. These guidelines are like a recipe for a delicious meal with special ingredients and spices. They provide a structure which assists in setting up a rich learning environment; one in which the needs of all learners are met. They support, deepen and accelerate the learning.
Results: learners learn more, apply more to their real world, and retain more. Critical, innovative thinking evolves or increases. They become more effective as participants as well as in their work and in their personal lives.

The Learning Cycle: Guidelines to structuring content

THE “RECIPE”

The Accelerated Learning Cycle provides guidelines for designing and facilitating learning programs.  This unique structure is like a well-balanced meal with 5 courses.  They include:

1st Course: The Learner Preparation Phase

Normally, participants leave their daily office routine, or classroom, or other work area and step directly into a training session with little or no preparation or thought about the learning to come.  This phase is designed to engage and motivate learners before the course begins.

Learners are then mentally prepared.  In form of questionnaires or interviews, the learners express their goals for the course, their needs, as well as their possible objections or resistance to e.g. the topic, the group members, etc. This provides the facilitator with the information needed to establish rapport more easily at the beginning of the course and to design the course according to the needs and goals.

In some cases literature is read or simple tasks for preparation are completed. This starts the participants thinking prior to the program and encourages personal accountability.

The 2nd part of this phase is called “Welcoming”, just as we would our dinner guests.  It is designed so that everyone senses a positive learning environment which encourages interaction and sharing of ideas. Room design, overview of the program and the framing of each learning segment create a sense of safety and direction. Activities include pair/group share, visualization, demonstration, review, experiencing new ideas through interactive games, etc.

2nd Course: The Connection Phase

It’s the “starter” of the meal!  Learners find ways or experience activities which help them to relate the new topic to their world, to their needs and goals.  It creates significance and meaning, thus motivating them to learn.

Here the activities are designed to tap into the existing knowledge and wisdom of the learners. They begin to overcome limiting beliefs, new ideas are sparked; an “emotional hook” is set in place.

3rd Course: The Creative Presentation Phase

The “main dish”: The new material is presented in creative, memorable and stimulating ways that engage the learners.

These ways include: simulation of real life situations, interactive lecture with props, world café, video viewing, posters, creative and interactive texts, interactive PowerPoint presentation, models which demonstrate new content, etc.  This presentation is holistic, speaks to all learning styles and modalities.

4th Course: The Activation Phase:

It’s time to “digest”!

In several stages of proficiency, the learners participate in a variety of activities which activate the passively learned material acquired in the 3rd phase.  This is the longest phase and it is of paramount importance for the acquisition and deepening of new knowledge and skills.

  1. First, participants begin using the new material in structured and controlled activities either in pairs, small or whole group.  These allow time for learners to familiarize themselves with the new material.  By using learning games mindfully it is possible for lots of repetition which leads to more confidence.
  1. As learner competency increases, the facilitator turns over more responsibility to participants. They practice using the material in new, creative and individualized ways, demonstrating more and more mastery.
  1. The final part of this phase allows time for everyone to transfer their learning to situations that simulate the reality of the learner and promote deeper levels of learning and understanding.  They move the learner from knowing to doing and a high level of mastery.

5th Course: The Integration Phase

Time for “Dessert”!

A module, a day’s learning, or the entire course is brought to a close by reflecting on what has been learned, by – once again— applying it to different situations or contexts, and, most importantly, to their real world, thus bringing closure and a sense of accomplishment and empowerment to a group and individuals at the end of a program.

To discover the 5 courses of this recipe, use the arrows to jump from one to another!.

Essential elements

THE “S.P.I.C.E.S.”

S = Supportive messages

Sending positive and supportive verbal and non-verbal messages to the learners leads to successful learning. The environment and the facilitator are key factors. The facilitator is like the cook creating and serving a delicious meal.  For this to happen, the facilitator must be sensitive to the needs of the learners and provide for these by having key qualities such as positive mindfulness, presence and humility.

P = Playfulness

By creating and orchestrating a “brain-friendly”, interaction-rich environment, we activate and deepen the learning.  The physical environment supports playfulness in that it invites movement, interaction, and promotes optimal flexibility in approaches.  The interaction with the facilitator, with the content and materials, and with the other learners provides an opportunity to play with ideas and concepts, to experiment with new ways of using the learned material, to test assumptions, to present ideas, etc.

I = Involvement

Involving all learning styles and modalities; a critical factor to the success of learning is the awareness of the various ways we learn and the facilitator’s ability to adapt their behaviors, communication and course design accordingly.  The learners can understand more quickly, remain confident throughout the learning process and enjoy a successful learning experience.  Success breeds success!

C = Content management

In other words design the learning so that complexity is made simple.  This is reflected in the conscious choice of appropriate activities, such as card games, board games, guessing games, etc. and tools such as analogies, mnemonic devices, storytelling, use of music, etc.

E = Environment

Create a positive learning atmosphere by consciously setting the stage for learning.  The peripheral information such as posters, texts, background music, and even the other learners, play a key role in building confidence and eliminating any existing learning barriers.

The environment includes:

  • Room and materials
  • Instructor…attitude, beliefs
  • Sounds, smells, tastes, images, movement, i.e. stimulating all the senses: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory, gustatory
  • Positive ”You can do it” messages either from the peripherals, the content, the other learners or the facilitator

S = State management

The physical, mental and psychological/emotional state of the learner is taken into consideration and activities are designed to help maintain the ideal state for learning. Facilitators are skilled in orchestrating the course to create a state of “flow”.  The skills are: the ability to pace high and low energy activities, to direct the learner’s attention (either to the facilitator, the other learners, to the individual learners), to move from working alone or in small or large groups, to shift the use of space in the room and so on.

The definition of flow from Wikipedia:

Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does. Proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, the positive psychology concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields

WHO BENEFITS

  • Trainers (all topics)

  • Instructors from K – 12, university, adult education

  • Language Instructors

  • Instructional designers

© Copyright 2014 - AOC - ART OF COMMUNICATION / Kathleen Brandhofer-Bryan