Accelerated Learning

Accelerated LearningAsk scientists about what the next frontier will be for human advancement and the most likely answer will be the ability to pick up new learning in a much shorter time. Amazing productivity and quantum improvements in learning is the promise of accelerated learning. It is a quest that has gripped both individuals and organizations…

To make accelerated learning possible and within reach for everyone, it has to be based on the way we humans learn. It has to leverage the potential that has not been leveraged by conventional learning methods. It has to be not just a one-dimensional experience that engages a person’s attention; it has to be a complete experience that engages the person. It is not just about the skills of the trainer; it is about the degree to which the learner becomes an integral part of the learning process.

To create an environment for accelerated learning, here are some guiding principles:

1. Learning Involves the Person

Learning that involves only logical, left-brain activity is insufficient. Learning must involve the complete person and engage with not just their “I get it” logic but also their “I want to” emotion. Images, videos, sounds, words, comfort, relaxation – all of these play a role.

2. Learning is Generating New Patterns of Thought

Taking a body of existing knowledge and understanding this does not lead to new learning, it just leads to new information. New learning takes place when a learner integrates this new information into his/her experience and generates new patterns of thought and extrapolates new meaning. A trainer creates an environment for this by asking what are known as “extending questions”. An example of an extending question is: “so how do you see this being applied in different areas?”. This creates new thoughts, interpretations, opportunities…

3. Collaboration and Peer-Peer Learning

Research on women entrepreneurs has shown that they learn much faster and produce better results when the learning activity includes collaboration with their peers. Competition slows learning and collaboration speeds learning. This is why group activities whether in corporate training or in school classrooms are so important in the learning process.

4. Learning Comes From Doing

People cannot learn in a vacuum – they learn when there is context. You can’t become good at selling just by attending a lecture. You need to practice selling, get an opportunity to make mistakes, get feedback, learn, improvise, innovate along the way and get experience. It is the experience of something that stays in the mind much longer than the information of something.

5. Learning Must be Fun.

Learning that is boring, uncomfortable and stressful with too many assessment points cannot engage and stimulate. Learning must involve some fun and relaxation. A study of corporate training found that participants in a training program started to really engage with the trainer and with each other during coffee breaks. This led to the question: “why not structure the entire training like a coffee break?” and learning/brainstorming interventions such as Future Cafe.

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