Karen had a client call in the morning and is now running late for the session. As she enters the class, she is surprised to see that people are all over the place, there is a sticky wall with colorful post-it notes on it, and the tables are arranged in a seemingly random manner. Where is the structure? She wonders. More importantly, since there are many different teams present here and she doesn’t know everyone, who is the facilitator?
Welcome to the world of Accelerated Learning! This is not your typical classroom training.
In Accelerated Learning, we strive to work past our learner’s lack of confidence in themselves and their abilities to learn, which we know can significantly incapacitate them. In an AL classroom, the facilitator is responsible for creating multiple opportunities for individual and team experiences that enable participants to move beyond those limiting beliefs and tap into their hidden potential. We have witnessed on many occasions that when participants are pushed, even they are amazed at their new-found capabilities.
The facilitator, the learning ambiance, and the design of the program are key determinants in the success of learning and development.
As per The Accelerated Learning Handbook by Dave Meier, there are four phases of Accelerated Learning:
Accelerated Learning can be achieved when all four phases are present while you are designing and conducting a program.
PHASE 1 – PREPARATION:
During the preparation phase, the aim is to pique learner’s curiosity and give them positive feelings about the learning experience. True learning occurs when learners are 100% invested in the program, otherwise it’s a facade that they create to fool either themselves or the facilitator. Sadly, the loss is theirs ultimately. So, here is what we can do to increase learner’s involvement to avoid that:
- Create an environment where they can take ownership of their own learning.
- Incorporate activities that encourage collaboration.
- Instill a sense of community learning. You can do this by persuading learners to form
- different teams for the various activities spread throughout the day. True learning comes by pushing our boundaries and getting out of the comfort zone.
- At the start of each program, ask learners to define their main goals and encourage them to be as specific as possible in this task.
- If you sense potential learning barriers such as the use of technology during programs, then have people write these down, and as a team, come up with solutions for overcoming them.
- Accountability for their own learning will keep learners honest with each other.
- Whether its corporate or non-profit learning, success stories always appeal to learners of all types. Providing examples of past achievements will keep the overall ambiance positive.
PHASE 2 – PRESENTATION:
There are 4 types of learners, as mentioned in the Accelerated Learning handbook:
S – Somatic
A – Auditory
V – Visual
I – Intellectual
The facilitator is responsible for presenting in a way that is conducive to all types of learners, as mentioned above. It is safe to assume that participants do not enroll in programs with a blank mind, but are there to build on education that has already taken place.
The goal of the Presentation Phase is to help learners encounter the new learning material in ways that are stimulating, fun, relevant, and appealing to all learning styles.
Here is how we can achieve it:
- Knowledge sharing
- Interactive presentations
- A good combination of assessments, hands-on activities, and short videos, etc.
- Individual, as well as group work
- Real-world learning experiences
- Case studies
PHASE 3 – PRACTICE:
The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.
—Mark Van Doren
Facilitators who promote reflection ensure that participants are fully engaged in the process of making meaning. They encourage participants to be producers, not just the consumers, of information and/or knowledge. Participants need to be given enough time to reflect on their learning, without which, the newly discovered knowledge will disappear once they get back to work.
Some tips for encouraging reflection are mentioned below:
- Hands-on trial
- Action learning exercises
- Encouraging individual reflection and articulation
- Role plays
- Skill-building practice activities
The more they practice, the better the chances are of retention. With immediate application and facilitator support, learners typically retain 90% of their newly acquired knowledge and skills.
PHASE 4 – PERFORMANCE:
The objective of phase four is to support learners to apply and extend their newly acquired skills to the job so that the learning ‘sticks’.
Accelerated Learning can succeed only when the facilitator can relate the theoretical concepts with the learner’s work life. If the learner doesn’t see any value to add to their real-life problems, motivation takes a nosedive.
You can do this by:
- Once a concept has been introduced, ask participants to relate it to their work life. This can be achieved by listing out real-world scenarios and then implementing those concepts to achieve desired results in the given scenario.
- On-going coaching.
- A buddy system wherein each participant buddies up with someone and they support each other when implementing their new skills.
- Supporting organizational change, if the situation demands.
- Post-session reminder material.
- Providing easy to consume job aids.
- Creating action plans and giving them a reason to implement those.
Integrating these four phases of learning can be challenging but immensely beneficial.
In association with The Center for Accelerated Learning, C2C Organizational Development conducts Accelerated Learning Certification in India. Want to learn more about the four phases of AL and how to integrate it while conducting your training programs, find out more about Accelerated Learning Certification here – Visit Our Website