“Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I remember, Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin.
The Learning and Retention Challenge
Most often learning professionals like you and I find ourselves walking the tightrope when it comes to finding the right balance between delivering information and creating learner-driven environments. We are uncertain how much of the learning will be retained by our learners and more importantly how much will be applied by them.
Just like developing new fitness skills and muscles, watching a YouTube video or a trainer is unlikely to create any results, unless you actually try the exercise for yourself. And just like embarking on a new or advanced fitness journey, you are only going to stay motivated and learn something new if you have a routine that is fun, yields visible results and has the support of a trainer or workout buddy.
To address this challenge, we at TLG use the Accelerated Learning (AL) methodology. It is a proven methodology which speeds up and increases learner engagement and creates effective learner retention. Based on the latest brain research, AL is a total system which focuses on a learner oriented approach when designing a learning intervention and enhances learning effectiveness while optimally using the time one has.
The 8 Guiding Principles of Accelerated Learning
The 8 Guiding Principles of Accelerated Learning are part of The Accelerated Learning Certificate in Virtual Training Program TLG runs in partnership with The Centre for Accelerated Learning. These 8 principles are the key foundations of the AL methodology. Let us quickly delve into each of them.
PRINCIPLE 1: LEARNING IS CREATION NOT CONSUMPTION
The main focus of a learning program is to help learners create personal meaning, value, and actionable knowledge out of the delivered information. Only what the learner creates is learnt. The role of a facilitator is to initiate the learning process, turn the learners loose, and then get out of the way.
Checklist ✓: My learners are not just passively consuming information, but playing an active role in creating meaning for their own learning.
PRINCIPLE 2: THE AL TRAINER IS MORE A FACILITATOR THAN A PRESENTER
Learning is best when learners are;
- active and involved (physically, mentally, and emotionally) in their learning.
- able to freely talk and move and think.
- given time to create their own knowledge out of the learning material.
- able to enjoy the learning experience.
As a trainer, you should strive to create an environment where the learners do most of the work. The learners need to be central to the learning process.
Checklist ✓: My role in the programs is more of a facilitator’s and I only put on my presenter’s hat when absolutely needed.
PRINCIPLE 3: ACTIVITY-BASED PROGRAMS TRUMP PRESENTATION-BASED ONES
‘Learning by doing’ beats every other form of learning, hands down. Learning comes from doing the work itself (with feedback), not by having someone tell you about it. Classroom presentations should be used to initiate and support real-world learning activities, not to be a substitute for them. The 30/70 rule can guide you: 30% (or less) facilitator presentations, 70% (or more) learner activities. It is important to ensure that your learners are engaged throughout the session.
Checklist ✓: My programs are more activity based than presentation based.
PRINCIPLE 4: THE 4-PHASE LEARNING CYCLE OPTIMIZES LEARNING
For optimal learning to occur, a learning program needs to include all four phases of the Learning Cycle:
- Preparation – the arousal of interest in learning.
- Presentation – the meaningful encounter of new learning.
- Practice – the integration of the new learning.
- Performance – the application of the new learning in the workplace.
Checklist ✓: My design/session flow follows the 4P learning cycle.
PRINCIPLE 5: LEARNER COLLABORATION GREATLY ENHANCES LEARNING
A rich connection among learners enhances everyone’s intelligence. When learners take full responsibility for helping one another learn, both the quality and the quantity of learning goes up for everyone. The Rule is: Never do for learners, what learners can do for themselves and for each other.
Checklist ✓: My program design and delivery have various opportunities for my learners to collaborate and learn from each other.
PRINCIPLE 6: LEARNING IS BEST WHEN IT IS ENJOYABLE
For most people, learning is far more effective when it is associated with positive feelings.
The best learners in the world are children who pursue what they need to know with a sense of play, even joy. Ask yourself, “How would I teach this learning material to children?” Then do that with adults.
Checklist ✓: My programs are fun and enjoyable.
PRINCIPLE 7: A POSITIVE ENVIRONMENT BOOSTS LEARNING
Learners thrive in an environment that is socially, emotionally, and physically positive. Just like a plant needs healthy soil to grow, your learners need a healthy, enriching environment to learn and grow at their best. You do this by:
- giving learners a sense of the personal value that the program will offer them.
- including lots of collaborative activities where learners can support, teach, and coach each other.
- creating a stimulating physical learning environment that is alive with colour and interest.
Checklist ✓: My programs involve a positive physical, emotional and social environment.
PRINCIPLE 8: THE AL TRAINER MITIGATES HER/HIS DESIGNER BIAS
Since we all have preferences when it comes to how we learn, which senses we prefer to engage more with, which technology elements we lean towards and which mode of media we use, these preferences could metamorphosis into biases. If we leave our biases unchecked, the risk we run is to end up with program designs which cater most to our own preferences – thereby creating a more “monotonous” design.
- In order to optimise the impact our program design, we need to include, a variety of multi-sensory activities and multi-media elements, which ensure that more than one part of our brain is stimulated at one time.
- One way to mitigate our designer bias is to create checkpoints where we assess whether the techniques/activities/media elements we have selected, best suit the given learning objective, or are an outcome of our designer bias.
Checklist ✓: My design includes a variety of multi-sensory and multi-media elements.
The Principals In Action – Online or Offline.
At The Learning Gym (TLG), we subscribe to this methodology and focus on changing the role of learners from passive consumers of content to active creators. Here, our learners take centre stage while we as facilitators, take the back seat. This may appear plausible to you in face-to-face sessions but AL can be a powerful methodology even in the virtual space. This is exactly what we at TLG offer through The Accelerated Learning Certificate in Virtual Training Program, in partnership with The Centre for Accelerated Learning, where we focus on crafting and curating learning experiences.
The 8 Principles allow anyone who designs learning interventions – trainers/facilitators, instructional designers, subject matter experts, teachers etc. an opportunity to apply them to their own learning sessions and programs and discover the impact each principle has on learning effectiveness.
We believe that Accelerated Learning is the key to bringing the joy of learning back into teaching/training while ensuring that learners play an active role in the process leading to on the job application and performance improvement.
For more details on The Accelerated Learning Certificate in Virtual Training Program, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org