IMG_0078In this blog, I will discuss 10 very simple, yet effective ways to accelerate learning in a an organisation. For those of you not familiar with accelerated learning, it is sometimes known as brain friendly learning, brain based learning or speed teaching. These tips are based on my “5 secrets of accelerated learning” which I shared in my article “Quick off the mark” for the Training Journal.

So here we go…….

  1. Agree with the stakeholders what the objectives are, so that you get buy-in throughout the organisation. That way line managers get to be part of the process of imbedding the learning. If the line managers are not buying it, then why should the staff? Each year the CIPD do a survey on L&D and the top reason for learning not sticking for many years now has been ” no line manager follow up”.
  2. Ask the learners what they want to get out of the learning and try to meet these as well as the organisational objectives. If learners feel their needs are being met they will engage in the learning. This is using a simple influencing principle (from Ribert Cialdini’s work).Reciprocity rules!
  3. Design variety into your workshops using Sharon Bowman’s 6 principles. You cannot possibly know accurately the best way each person learns and so the best thing to do is to mix it up.  Variety will keep the learners curious.
  4. Change pace or tone every 20 minutes to keep learners engaged. So if you have been presenting new information for 20 minutes, let them have a chance to practice it for 20 minutes. Allow quiet reflection time for them to realise what they have learned. As well as lively debates and activities.
  5. Imbed commands and create a positive learning environment. So many trainers shoot themselves in the foot by saying things like “this is a bit boring but we need to get through it”. Instead speak to their subconscious and prepare them for a difficult subject using something like: “You will to need to focus for this next bit because it will really help you in your role”.
  6. Reuse posters from previous sessions to reinforce prior learning.
  7. Contract with the learners and take joint responsibility for the learning. At the start of a long programme it is important to set expectations. I do not spoon feed my learners and so these 3 questions are great for the start of a programme:
  • In order for this programme to be of value to you, it has to be like what?
  • In order for it to be like that, you have to be like what?
  • In order for you to be like that, others have to be like what?

8. Don’t be afraid to use repetition to make learning stick. Don’t be afraid to use repetition to make learning stick. Don’t be afraid to…..ok labouring my point now….

9. Keep building on what they know. Start with some small skills they already use and add to them to free up that small prefrontal cortex for the new stuff.

10. For a long programme select learning champions who will help others who missed a session come up to speed. This has 3 effects. The first is focus; the    learning champions are keen to learn as much in that session as possible, because they will at some point have to pass it on and this rubs off onto others. It generates responsibility in the organisation for learning. Yay!

Ok thought of this one, too good not to share, so here is your Brucie bonus:

IMG_0416  11. Provide opportunities to use the learning ASAP. This moves the learning to the energy hungry and very limited prefrontal cortex into the basal ganglia   (long term memory) and makes them proficient quickly.

“If you would like to experience accelerated learning for yourself, why not come to a “Brain Friendly Learning Group” meeting? Krys runs the Leeds group and the next meeting is on the 4th of July, with Larry Reynolds, sharing “3 Tools to improve the EI of your learners”.

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