A General Introduction to Accelerated Learning Techniques
1. Conceptual clarity:
It is seen more often than not the term Accelerated or Brain Friendly Learning Technique is used in a loose manner to mean ‘any learning activity’ that expedites the learning process. While it encompasses within itself an activity of learning, yet it does not convey the true import of the concept whose objective is to teach the whole person in order to impart the core elements to the learners (students) which would empower them to absorb elements of what is being taught in a faster, effortless and consequently an enjoyable manner. The crux of the concept thus can be found in the retention of what is learnt.
“Suggestology’ is the popular name assigned to the concept as following the path breaking work of Dr.Georgi Lozanov  to whom the origin of the theory is credited with. He had applied Accelerated Learning Techniques to teaching of a foreign language to non-native students through methods of relaxation, visual arts, and music. Students were taught vocabulary words ranging any where between one hundred and one thousand with an astonishing success rate of 98%. The objective of this paper is to briefly describe the theoretical foundation and follow it up with various techniques which are prevalent in the field of Brain friendly Learning. Kinesthetic learning, multiple intelligences, mind mapping thinking skills, suggestopedia (expanded from Suggestology) are some of the other or associated key terms used to describe Alternate Learning.
2. Theoretical Framework:
The Suggestology Theory espoused by Prof.Dr.Georgi LozanovKinaesthetic was systematically developed by his followers who believed that ‘suggestion’ drives the core elements of Accelerated Learning. Researchers and Authors like Prichard et al (1980), Caliendo, (1990), Dhority, (1991) and Berkowitz (1993) all opined that a major responsibility is caste on the teachers to follow it in their teaching. This arose out of their belief in the ‘Pygmalion effect Metaphor Theory’ of Robert Rosenthal which had established that their (teachers) unconsciously generated cues have an impact on the pupils’ feelings about themselves `and their academic performance. In essence the contribution of these theorists to the subject is the establishment of such tenets as ‘the medium is inseparable from the message’, ‘Students do not care what you know until they know what you care’ and an expanded version of ‘Suggestology’. ‘Suggestopedia’ was born incorporating elements of consciousness, emotions, gestures etc.
In combination of what was discussed in the foregoing paragraphs, the techniques of Accelerated Learning were developed on the theory of ‘Perceptual Modality’. In simple terms, it refers to the way human bodies assimilate information. It relates to auditory, visual, and kinesthetic and feels through touch styles. Howard Gardner, 1993), grouped them into seven intelligences:
- Verbal linguistic, (which arranges words according to meaning and order),
- Musical (implying sensitive to pitch, melody, rhythm, tone),
- Mathematically logical (treating it as amenable to reasoning, pattern, and order)
- Spatial (capable of perceiving the world accurately based on which making attempts to re-create aspects of that world),
- Bodily kinesthetic (applying nimbleness to the movement of various parts (say hands) of the body in the process of learning)
- Inter-personal (exhibiting traits of skills while interacting with other) and
- Intra-personal (implying understanding one’s own emotional life as a means to understand self and others).
3. A general presentation of the Techniques:
Since the objective of this paper is to provide an overview of the techniques that are found to be of great utility in Acclimated Learning, it would be presented in a capsulated form. These techniques point to the conclusion that they increase the rate of learning. While the techniques could be wide ranging, all of them strive to achieve one objective, viz, what is learnt should be learnt in a least painful and most enjoyable manner and should be etched permanently in the memory of the learner enabling instant recall.
(a) Memory hooks:
This technique is based on the principle of bonding two pieces of information expressed in the construction of a sentence through interconnecting a theme with words that follow logically each other. .It may be odd but true for, in order to make the learners to succeed in the improvement of their memory, they have to be tuned to think like idiots. In a British context, considering this may be useful. ‘Persil always washes whiter’. The key theme of this technique is ‘the funnier or more emotional, the better’.
(b) Call it out loud:
It combines three perceptory sensors, viz, visual, aural and body movement. The written material represents the visual, hearing one’s voice the aural and muscular (body control) by using one’s own voice.
(c) Emotional display
It follows the same principles listed above with the only variation by allowing emotion to act as a catalyst.
(d): Break or chunk into different parts:
In this technique, the material is broken into different segments. A simple way is to refer the way the American telephone numbers are arranged. (E.g., 605-811-8666 in which an additional emphasis is made by creating a memory hook for 605).
(e): Tell it through a Story:
Stories play a larger than actually acknowledged place in impacting the learning psyche of the human beings. A vast array of human activities is based on stories. For instance, they form the basis of religions, mythologies, gossips in a variety of conceivable settings, say family gatherings, office work, private conversations etc., when the user himself/herself is included in such stories; the visual component acquires an unprecedented sharpness.
(f) Body Movements:
The memory becomes sticky when the limbs are used in coordination with each other when acting out in the process of learning.
In a brief paper of this type whose objective is to present the essentials, a choice has to be made between desirability and feasibility. Obviously, the choice is feasibility. Exercising this option, what the paper has done is to highlight the relevance of Accelerated Learning as a replacement to the conventional methods of teaching of ‘chalk and talk’ and its development has been traced to important theories and practical application of it to a few highly relevant techniques.
Berkowitz, E (1993): Dimensions of teacher affect in four accelerated learning language classrooms; An Ethnographic Study, Doctoral Dissertations, University of Houston, Houston, TX
Caliendo, G.L. (1990): A Profile of Six Accelerated Learning Language Teachers of Suggestopedia, (ALTOS) at a selected Language and Cultural Center, Doctoral Dissertation, University of Connecticut
Dhority, L (1991): The Act approach: The artful use of suggestion for Integrative Learning, Berman, Germany PLS Verlag GmbH
Howard Gardner (1993); Frames of Mind: The theory of multiple intelligences (10th anniversary edition), New York Basic Books
Prichard, A & Taylor, J (1980): Accelerated Learning: The Use of Suggestions in the Classroom, Novato, CA, Academic Therapy Publications
Some useful further readings are suggested below:
‘Embracing the Wide Sky” written and published by Daniel Tammet and Hooder and Stoughton respectively provides a general over view of the subject.
‘The Amazing Memory Book’ written and published by Dominic O’Brien and Thunder Bay Press respectively covers the subject in an extensive manner.
‘The mind of a Mnemonist’ is referred because it is the one which stimulated Oliver Sacks’ writings and whose book ‘The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat’ would not only make an interesting and useful but also an enjoyable reading.
Website: http://www/ericir.svr.edu is the official website for the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) is one comprehensive site which may cater to the multiple needs of researchers and practitioners.
 Dr. Georgi Loznov, a Bulgarian by birth, a Psychiatrist by qualification and an Educator by design is treated to be father of the concept of accelerated learning.
 Rosenthal R & Jacobson L. Pygmalion in the classroom: teacher expectation and pupils’ intellectual development. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1968, 240 p. [Harvard Univ., Boston, MA and South San Francisco Unified Sch. District, San Francisco, CA]. According to social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) that this Book has been cited more than 700 times since 1968.
page reviewed March 2016