Unleashing the full capacity of your people

Accelerative Learning: A Great New Name for Proven Learning Methods

Through a quarter-century of work developing human potential, our facilitators at Bovo-Tighe have created a wide range of teaching methods to productively engage the multiple learning styles we work with in the training programs of our clients.

Moving from “Sage on the Stage” to “Guide on the Side”

In the early days it was a trial-and-error process. With no industry standards to rely on, we explored methods ad-hoc to improve on the old lecture-style “sage on the stage” approach. We covered the walls with inspiring posters, for instance, and we continually built in more time for group work. We experimented with how to use music to energize sessions. One magical day we discovered how to use balloons as a useful pedagogical engagement tool!

All of this had the effect of putting the participant at the center of the learning process, and moved the facilitator off the stage and into a guiding role (now called “guide on the side”).

Over time, we crafted a great mix of activities and materials that really got every participant of each group injecting a lot of energy and attention into our learning process. We weren’t alone, either. Hundreds of our talented fellow consultants were testing their own methods and coming to the same conclusions we have.

Eventually, someone puts a name on what human development practitioners collectively created, and converted the “methods” into a methodology called Accelerative Learning.

Finding a name for the approach is helpful, because clearly identifying the goal of all of our experimentation and giving it a strategic perspective allows all HR development advisors to more quickly refine techniques and apply them successfully.

Accelerative Learning Makes Human Development Faster and More Inclusive

Here are some key concepts to understand about Accelerative Learning:

  • Accelerated Learning (AL) is more than just the inclusion of music and the arts, more than playing learning games, more than designing learning to appeal to all learning styles. Its core premise is that each person has great capacity to learn: They can learn a lot more than they think they can if they are given a safe environment in which to participate. (I will use the phrase “let their guard down” as one way to describe what we seek, although that is more passive than active, and active participation is what we seek.)
  • AL facilitators assume that each participant’s own limiting beliefs about their abilities to learn, or about the learning process itself often get in the way of their learning potential.
  • Therefore, in an AL classroom the facilitator creates multiple different opportunities for individual and group experiences that enable participants to move beyond those limiting beliefs and let their own talents and ideas involve them more deeply in the learning process.
  • The facilitator, the learning environment and the design of the learning process are all determining factors in the success of unlocking the participants’ capacity and willingness to learn.

We will explore each of these aspects of AL in more depth in future posts, but this short list captures what makes it work, and why we have chosen to collect our portfolio of development tools under its banner.

Have you experienced accelerative learning techniques? How did it impact your training or coaching experience? How might you describe your experience differently than we have here?

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