am an enthusiastic advocate of accelerated learning, and here’s why: it delivers results;
it incorporates the latest thinking about learning in the best way possible (for maximum retention); it incorporates great objectives as part of the process, and it’s creative, engaging and fun! An early frustration with
accelerated learning was identifying which approach was best. After much research, I came up with five broad-brush areas which fit in with all the approaches that I came across and neatly summarise what you have to concentrate on to accelerate learning. I call them the five secrets of accelerated
Business focused and learner centred objectives – this ensures stakeholder and learner buy-in, essential to the success of learning.
Be a facilitator not a trainer – this promotes and inspires learners to learn more and carry on learning beyond the scope of a workshop or programme.
Look at all the various ways in which learners can learn – intro- ducing variety means there is more chance that the learners will be engaged for longer.
Take care of the environment – for the learners, feed their natural childlike curiosity and encourage them to learn together.
Learn about the brain to maximise retention – if you do not maximise how the brain works, learning will not stick.
I also came across two key statistics which convinced me that accelerated learning is valid and worthwhile. Firstly, it has shown to yield a 300 per cent improvement in retention by learners (according to Elliot Masie). And secondly, a 30 per cent cut in trainer preparation time (according to Debbie Meddins, ATOS L&D Manager).
What’s in a name?
However, accelerated learning, in my opinion, has always been somewhat of a misnomer because it is not just about speed. In comparison to traditional learning, accelerated learning princi- ples, when applied properly, will also make learning more memorable, more engaging and easier to design, because:
Instead of beginning at 9am on day one of a learning workshop, learners start to learn before an event, as part of the preparation phase.
Te learning continues after the event, with follow-up and activities to embed the learning (because everyone knows real learning takes time, repetition and review).
Behaviours begin to change, because line managers and other stakeholders are involved in the whole process (as the objectives are business focused, they have a vested interest).
Learners are inspired to learn for themselves, not just spoon-fed and directed what to learn.
Time is given to analysing the real needs, so not just a TNA or LNA, but real probing into what is going on ‘under the bonnet’.
Te latest neuroscience is applied so that the learning makes the best use of how the brain works (this on its own does not guarantee business results, just as great objectives on their own do not guarantee the learning will be ‘sticky’).
Te learning environment is a bal- ance of a stimulating physical room, where social learning is encouraged, and a place where learners feel safe and supported. Te social learning continues across other platforms.
are and how they will help improve performance within the organisation. Using the stakeholder analysis
grid (Figure 1) can help you identify which of your stakeholders you need to nurture, and those who take up your time for little return.
Figure 1: Stakeholder Analysis Grid Snipers Evangelists
Networkers Support L&D can be very effective if it works
in partnership with the stakeholders. You can conduct a stakeholder analysis to uncover interests and how best to influence them. By staying close to the stakeholders, you will also uncover the potential risks and pitfalls in your L&D programmes. Best of all, L&D will be delivering to objectives that are linked to real organisational success. In short, if you want to engage your
stakeholders you have to: ``
Speak their language.
Accelerated learning principles make learning more memorable, more engaging and easier to design
Keen to get started? Let’s look at each secret in turn and see how you can practically apply them.
Business focused and learner centred objectives
Identify the business’s key stakeholders before you decide what training or learning needs to be done and when. You need to get these stakeholders behind what you’re doing in L&D so that, when it’s time to ask for budget, they can see how it will improve the business.2
Tese stakeholders can help you identify what the objectives `` Work with the organisation.
Understand how your organisation works so that you can infiltrate it.
Demonstrate value for money and business value.
Manage the ‘undead’ – don’t let them steal your time.
Ask the learners what they want to get out of the learning. If you can do this before you start the programme, it gives you time to balance their needs with the organisational needs. Asking them also increases their buy-in and, if time is short, you can always do this as a Post-it exercise as they come into the classroom.
Be a facilitator not a trainer
Make the learners your focus and not how much you know about a particular subject. Use your skills and experience to design activities that will engage the learners and draw out what is already there. Find ways to add in your exper- tise, which does not involve standing up at the front and telling them about it. Arouse their curiosity on the subject
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