What is Accelerative Learning?

What is Accelerative Learning?

Mar 31, 2020 | By David Turberfield

What is Accelerative Learning?

Picture the scene. A presenter is at the front of the room, 40 minutes into a session about ethical compliance obligations, literally talking to his 35thPowerPoint slide.


The learning story (Part 1)

Picture the scene. A presenter is at the front of the room, 40 minutes into a session about ethical compliance obligations, literally talking to his 35thPowerPoint slide. There are a few people at the front fighting to stay awake, most are on their phone or tablet and one or two at the back are literally nodding off. The presenter speeds up in a bid to get it over and done with. At the end of the session, there is muted applause and a collective rush for the door. The company can tick the box on ethics training – but did anyone really learn anything? A day or two later and most of the participants probably won’t even remember having been in the room and will determine to avoid the next session like the plague.

Unfortunately, this scene is playing out in corporate meeting rooms every day all over the world and it begs the question, what’s the point? If people are leaving training sessions, going back to work and continuing to do the same things in the same way as they did before they went in, then it really is just a waste of time and money.

It is estimated that businesses worldwide spend $350B each year on training (Administrate 2018), not including the cost of participant hours. What percentage of that spend is really having a material impact?It doesn’t have to be like this. There are tried and tested learning approaches that can and do increase learning effectiveness, ensuring a significant return on a company’s investment in training. One particularly powerful, well researched and documented approach is Accelerative Learning (AL).


What is Accelerative Learning (AL)?

Accelerative Learning (AL) has been described as the most advanced teaching and learning method in use today (CAL 2019). It is a powerful approach based on over 50 years of brain research, designed to enhances both the training design and the learning process. When applied correctly, it has been proven to significantly increase learning effectiveness whilst saving time and money.

Based on the way that human beings naturally learn, AL taps into our innate potential for learning in a way that traditional learning methods cannot. It does this by fully involving the participant in their own learning experience using physical activity, creativity, colour, images, music and the whole training environment.

AL is described as activity-based and learner-driven (ABLeD), where learners discover and create their own knowledge through meaningful activities and authentic experience. The trainer becomes “the guide on the side” as opposed to “the sage on the stage” (CWW 2013), facilitating the learning process and delivering content only to supplement the learners’ own process of discovery and creation.


The learning story (Part 2)

Picture the scene with the application of AL. Three groups of participants have been busily discussing a scenario where a company employee is facing an ethical dilemma that looks like it could be in breach of the law. They’ve studied the legislation, figured out the relevant clauses, prepared their feedback and are about to present. The brief requires the first group to feedback with a poster and no words; the second group has to create a song; and the third group has to act it out. The room is tense with excited anticipation…

They leave the room not only having actively studied the content but also having seen, heard and felt it through the media of three different learning modalities. In the process, they have built relationships, broken down barriers, had a lot of fun and are ready to take what they have learned back to the workplace and sign up for the next session.