How to prepare for your own superlearning programme
1.0: Introduction to Super Learning:
In all the previous articles, we had discussed about the development and the utility of Accelerated/Superlearning Techniques as originally propounded by Dr. Lozanov and subsequently developed by innumerable scholars belonging to a variety of disciplines. One can name any field, Psychology, Sociology, Education, Liberal Arts and the list is endless where the ‘Accelerated Learning Techniques’ and the Multiple Intelligence Theory could be applied for the benefit of the humankind. In this article, we propose to discuss an exciting development in relation to how a super learning program, through a well orchestrated process of self learning could be achieved, by following a set of techniques, pieced together into a logical program that has been advanced by an Indian scholar cum administrator, Dr. Prem Saran. [a]. He has ingeniously blended the best of Dr.Lozanov with the critically acclaimed Indian yogic techniques. His programme titled as ‘An Indic Metalearning-cum-Superlerning Model for the 21st Century: Content Development for e-Learning’ E-learning: Prospects and Challenge) is based on rigorous research on the scientific works carried out by the’ who is who’ in the field of ‘Accelerated Learning’ or non-conventional thinkers.
The reasons for choosing his path breaking work are many, but the chief ones are:
It is a technique of ‘learn how to learn’ (which ideally suits the objective of this article) covering both aspects of learning and also mental learning having great utility for trainers and those engaged in the HRM field to tap the best potential of the working force, in whatever capacity one is working.
Secondly, it is the most modern form of advancing the’ Accelerated Learning Techniques’ which also invokes the multiple intelligence strategies of Howard Gardener in order to tap the vast reserves available by teaching how to use the right brain (in addition to the left brain)
Finally, though the article is highly structured in rigorous academic research yet if one can explain it in simpler ways, (that is what we have done) the readers would be surprised of the fact that one cannot have for a program better than this in its simplicity and high practical value.
In the next Section, we would highlight in as simple language as possible the important principles advanced in this theory with simultaneous correlation with ‘Accelerated Learning Techniques’ and other related thinking. In the concluding Section, WE would summarize its practical utility for the HRM field by illustrating the results of where it has been applied.
2: Principles of Indic Metalearning-cum-Superlearning Model for the 21st Century:
The brilliance of the principles advanced in this theory lies in the fact that it logically weaves together the ‘Suggestopedia’ of Dr.Lozanov, the ‘Multiple Intelligence Theory’ of Howard Gardner, the Superlearning experiments of Ostrander, the creative thinking of Edward De Bono, the management techniques of Hamel, C.K. Prahalad, (and others) the scientific theories of Buzan, the Psychological techniques of Nuero Linguistic Program (NLP) of O’Connor, Knight( and others), the Cultural Anthropology of Carl Jung (and many others ) with the Indic Visualization and present it as ‘Accelerated Learning Techniques’ for the 21st Century.
The core element of Dr.Lozanov theory is imparting learning through suggestive methods. The concept of ‘Accelerated Learning’ in essence leaves the choice to the learners to learn by making it a fun rather than impose stuff into their resistant mind. Visualization is central to the tapping the right hemisphere of the brain which, scientifically, has been proved to hold a vast reserve which the conventional learning systems has failed to tap.
2.1.: The Indic Culture and Four Core Cultural Learning Competencies:
The Indic knowledge systems, according to the author, are coming into their own by gaining its valuable place in ‘Human Resources Development’ (HRD) among others having a wide range of applications, viz., from ‘ Management to Ethical Governance’ (Ref: Author’s own works).The core cultural traits can be harmoniously synthesized with ‘competencies’ of (of Hamel et al) to create an ‘e-learning model’. The four cultural competencies that would form the foundation of this e-learning model stress fundamentally the ‘right brain traits’ which ultimately facilitate the access to the tapping up of the vast mental reservoir of the right brain. It is a simplified method of ‘visualization’ that focuses on tapping the huge reserves of the human right brain and thus gets connected to the ‘Accelerated Leaning’, that incorporates the ‘super learning’’ that had evolved from the ‘Suggestopedia’ and other path breaking inventions and innovations of Dr.Lozanov and his disciples. Its hall mark is that it is a ‘self-learning tool’ and as ‘metalearning model’, it promotes the ‘mental learning’ that enables one to ‘learn how to learn’. Leaving aside the religious and other technical basis of the premises, what in effect it does is to make the passionate pursuit of work ‘intrinsically interesting, exciting, and joyous’.
The first trait ‘the Indic personhood’ is penetrable (porous) as against the atomic theory (when applied to Psychology, it means a method that reduces all psychological phenomena to simple elements), of the West and ‘holonic’ (a Greek Philosophy that postulates thatholonis something that is simultaneously a hole and a part and coined by Arthur Kostler in his book ‘The Ghost in the Machine’, (1967). It in essence enables the learner to access his/her own ‘deep structure learning resources’ (connected to Ostrander, Sheila et al ‘Super Learning Techniques).
The indic cultural spirit (in sociology, it underlies the beliefs, customs and or practices of a group or society as a whole) by evoking the ‘theory of cosmogony‘ (a specific theory devoted to the study of the origin and evolution of the universe), is more playful and conducive to learning because of its emphasis on a more relaxed and healthier attitude towards life which eventually is connected to an element of ‘Super learning’, i.e. ‘optimal learning’. By invoking the ‘pleasure principle’ as evinced in ‘Shakta/Tantric’ cults, ( one of the primary school of Hinduism that invokes the doctrine of power of the goddess), it lays the stress on visualization to put the learners into a ‘best state’ for learning (as advanced by Ostrander, Sheila et al). It also demolishes the ‘andocentric’ (centered on men, excluding or neglecting women) biases of the West, promotes the gender complementarity between the sexes and the analogy here relates to the synergization of the ‘whole brain learning’ through the appropriation of the sub-dominant and latent right brain.
Thus, the ‘Indic Visualization’ of core cultural competencies is synthesized into ‘Accelerated Learning Techniques’. They are’ non-logical’ valences(a capacity of one person or object to react or affect another in some specific way, say by attraction or the facilitation of a function or activity) that can said to characterize the Indic Civilization as a “right brain culture”.
2.2: The Indic technique of bipolar Yogic Visualization:
This hence is the basis of the training component of the e-learning model. The practical application of it comprises of four stages. To start with, the body is put into a relaxing stage by invoking a process of autogenic visualization. After this, the mind is brought into an ‘altered state’ by the visualization of an “inner body.” An inner body visualized is equivalent to that of a fine tube running from its centre, from its anal region to the crown of the head. By directing the attention up the tube, from the bottom to the top, hypnagogic (reaching an intermediate consciousness that precedes sleep) state is achieved. This is the stage of deep relaxation and once this is achieved, the learner is ready to program methodically himself/herself to achieve the desired learning goals. The final stage is completed by using a ‘cue’ (stimulus or suggestion, e.g. as one used in NLP).
As the saying goes, ‘the proof of pudding is in the eating’ and by applying this analogy to the above model, it could be good only if it accomplishes the purpose for which it is created in application to learning situations. The West always looks for evidences in everything and these evidences are more than amply available in the training programs conducted by the author himself for senior Indian civil servants and from the growing international recognitions. (The readers are requested to access the website to know more about them). Within few minutes of the application of this technique to the ‘hard boiled professionals’ (as the author terms the senior civil servants), they enter into a deep meditative state within which they are taught ‘how to learn to learn”. The principle at a single go synergizes ‘optimal Stress Level’ (eustress), ‘Creativity’ and ‘Right Brain Learning style’.
Its chief value could be found in the ‘Right Brain learning’. Harry Alder[b] has attested by studying successful business leaders had somehow learned to utilize systematically their full mental capacities by using the holistic visual mode of the ‘Right Brain’. In a context, as echoed by cognitive and lateral thinking experts like Edward de Bono, where even the best Universities across the world have not been able to produce the kind of learners/citizens the modern society needs, this technique indeed has an infinite value for trainers/teachers who would achieve the dual objectives of harmoniously blending the eastern values with the ones propounded in the Accelerated Learning Model’
In a singe sentence, if we can capture the essence of this technique and its relevance to ‘Accelerated Learning’ using the very words of the author himself ‘ it is a ‘self-learning tool’ which promotes “learning how to learn.”[c]
Dr.S. Prem: Mimeo, E-Learning: Prospects and Challenges:
‘An Indic Metalearning-cum-Super learning Model for the 21st Century: Content Development for e-Learning, available at http://elearn.cdac.in/eSikshak/eleltechIndia05/PDF/20-An%20Indic%20Metalearning-cum-Superlearning%20Model%20for%20the%2021st%20Century-20.pdf and accessed on 8th and 9th Feb 10
[a] Dr. Prem Saran.[a] is a senior member of the Indian Administrative Service and at the time of writing, this article was holding the Post of Commissioner with the Government of Assam.
[c] The concept has acquired critical international acclaim and growing in its value as a ‘unique’ ” e-HRD model”. Captioned ‘New HRD Model” available at www.assam.nic.in