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Core Principles of Accelerated Learning in 2021

Accelerated learning, simply put, is learning faster than what is typical. It takes learning up a notch and shifts learning into a higher gear to learn and retain information at an accelerated pace. Accelerated learning does not mean that information is crammed, with students being pushed into completing a course curriculum that they are not ready for. 

For accelerated learning to be a success, educators should use various core principles. We've compiled a list of the top seven core principles of accelerated learning in 2021.

1. Utilize Both the Mind and Body

Learning is not something the brain does on its own; it involves the whole body. Accelerated learning relies on the use of both the right and left brain hemispheres and the physical movement of our bodies. Kinesthetic learning uses physical activity instead of visual or auditory lessons alone to teach the subject matter.

Even if you teach a "non-moving" subject, you can create lessons or projects that will force students to utilize their minds and bodies. 

2. Allow Students to Create Learning Content

Students should not merely be fed a stream of information and be expected to absorb the knowledge. Learning happens more successfully when students are involved in the creation of content. Students can take what they are learning and apply their new skills in a unique and meaningful way. 

An athlete does not become faster by sitting on the bench while listening to their coach drone on about running techniques. They need to take what they learn and put it into practice to make any meaningful progress. If a student is part of the creation of the learning content, not only will they feel a sense of accomplishment, but the subject matter will be guaranteed to be suited to the student's needs.

Ideally, you may allow students to utilize various online platforms to create and share their lessons with fellow students. The sharing of lessons learned will get students practicing the content and sharing their insights with the world they are a part of.  

3. Foster a Collaborative Environment

Collaboration between students accelerates the learning process. A learning environment should foster interactions between peers instead of competition. Suppose a group of students is presented with the same problem. In that case, the students can reach the solution faster and easier if the group members can discuss various solutions and bounce ideas off of each other instead of working in isolation. 

Working and learning together leads students to an intrinsic motivating force to collaborate as often as possible. Although educators need to remember that competition is a motivating and driving force for some students, it is essential to understand that competition motivation can be linked to negative emotions or feelings of inadequacy, which is the opposite of our goal to accelerate learning. 

4. Utilize Different Teaching Methods

All senses need to be engaged and challenged simultaneously when teaching at an accelerated pace; only then will the content create a better impact, and the information retention rate will be greater. Think of it this way; it is easier to absorb information when you pay attention to what is happening around you; you need to see, hear, feel and possibly even smell the subject matter. 

As an educator, it would be wise to mix up your teaching methods to utilize various senses. An only auditory or visual presentation will not help the kinesthetic learner, and vice versa. Changing up your teaching methods will pull out better results from your students in the long run. While we want our students to stretch and grow, sometimes it is easier for us to alter our teaching methods than asking an entire class to change their learning methods. 

5. Embrace Differences

Learning can not effectively take place with a one size fits all approach. We are all unique, and although there are similarities in how we learn, it is important to remember that there are also differences. These differences in our abilities should be accepted and embraced. Teachers can not force a student to learn in the same way and at the same rate as another student if they have different backgrounds or levels of understanding.

6. Students Learn By Doing

Learning needs to take place in context rather than in a hypothetical or abstract situation. Provide as many real-world or even hands-on experiences as possible. Relating the content to the students will also aid in the retention and accelerated learning of your students. 

7. Learning Can Be FUN!

Positive feelings can accelerate learning and overall retention. When students feel good about a subject and the content, they are more inclined to engage in the subject matter. Negative feelings drastically slow the rate of learning and can even cause a complete mental block. A positive learning environment leads to an altogether more enjoyable experience for both students and teachers.

As you develop a way to intertwine fun with learning, you will find that students are more willing to learn. As students graduate from your class, they will remember the feelings they had in your class and the excitement you brought to the subject matter. 

Final Thoughts

Accelerated learning shakes up some of the more conventional educational practices, but with high risk comes high reward. It is important to note that these core principles of accelerated learning work hand in hand with each other. You can't choose to focus on one or some of the principles because they all work together to cover different learning styles in one holistic approach. 

Accelerated learning can enrich students who have missed out on schooling, over-age students, or students from impoverished or rural backgrounds. Whatever the circumstances, it is essential to remember that not all students are the same, and approaching learning less conventionally can reach more individuals than a cookie-cutter approach to learning.

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Written by Nel Lieselc

Education World Contributor

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