Exploring the impact of the Internet on Accelerated Learning methods and techniques.
Of all the ten articles we chose to present for our website in this series, this article, viz, the final one posed the greatest challenge not because of paucity of research contents but because of the appropriateness. In fact, keying in the search words Web and Accelerated Learning (or “Internet and Accelerated Learning”) within quotes did not produce any results and without quotes threw a mind-blowing 14,30,000 results in a fraction 0.30 seconds reflecting both the sides of the development of the Information Technology, its relevance as well as irrelevance. Subsequently, refining it with the Impact of Web on Accelerated Learning, we got about 96,600 results in 0.23 seconds. Of course, out of a selective intelligence, we believe that we had utilised only those minimal results which have the highest relevance for the objective of this article. However, the above has been stated only to highlight the difficulties an uninitiated searcher who would rather leave the net frustrated with confusion and frustration which threatens to negate the much-touted unsurpassable success and benefits of the Internet. The shortlisting of the website for formulating and writing of this article was based on three criteria, viz, that it should relate to Accelerated Learning not just from the present but also the future, in other words, it should deal with the sustainable manner in which it could be promoted, second, should correlate to the fast-changing nature and advancement of the technology relating to education and HRM and third, should have international focus in that such an advancement should facilitate the exchange of information, discussion and positive promotion of Accelerated Learning. Such websites would naturally have unique features in all respects, a theme, and approach in the offering of collaborative tools across the globe, a high exposure in the Search Engine and satisfy the criteria laid down by the United Nations under the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD).
To our knowledge, the most appropriate site was the PLANET 2025 NETWORK with the theme ‘ACCELERATED LEARNING PATHWAYS’ FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT WITHIN INTERNATIONAL CONTEXT’. (http://www.planet2025.net/) which has been taken to present the major views along with some other relevant sites have also been used. Within the constraints of the stipulation of the length of the article, it would focus on the international initiatives undertaken in the acceleration of formal, non-formal, and informal learning opportunities, (termed as the I-Wheel). It would also make mentions of the application of collaborative learning tools, from results and reflections of past experiences, chalking out of the key drivers that would influence the UNDESD activities in the area of Accelerated and other learning methods and the ideas and recommendations of the manner in which the future developments. Given the space constraints, it would utilise only the Executive Summary for summarising the key points.
2: Accelerated Learning in the context of Emerging Technologies:
The Accelerated learning should utilise emerging technologies in the context of huge challenges facing the present and future generation of humankind in the promotion and retention of a sustainable development of education that would serve the economic and social challenges facing the world through acquisition and sharing of knowledge.
The coming years would see the emergence of a variety of user-friendly technologies from social networking sites to mobile phones to interactive educational techniques that would dominate the globe and facilitate people, organisations to successfully fructify the transition from the present to a sustainable future`. This, in turn, calls, for the development and application of a new set of learning skills that would retain the cultural sensitivities. In this, the web would be playing a critical role in enabling the collaboration and networking to direct the learners to a more purpose directed approach to media education with an objective to become full-fledged participants in the society. Such an emerging media of education, in which the development of the Web tools have a serious role to play would enable approaches of collective intelligence in which there would be multiple players comprised in a society irrespective of the areas they are engaged in, viz., scientific bodies, governments etc whose focus would be directed to the exclusive causes of solving the problems the universe faces.
2.1: Web Tools:
In order to promote Accelerated Learning, we need some web tools which are easy but also enjoyable to use as then only it would attract the attention of children who are an indispensable part of such learning.
In this regard, ‘serious games’ for social purpose are being recommended. Although its name may be slightly inappropriate, yet it is felt that they can provide in a veritable manner learning experiences with lasting effects on the players. They are virtual reality games and hence provide the learners with an environment to stimulate new and positive models of societies.
New social technologies some of which we would discuss below are the ones that would enable incorporation of new models of educational criteria which would facilitate learning in newer ways of which Accelerated Learning have a central place.
2.2: Social Media Optimisation (SMO):
“Social media is a set of tools online platform that are set up to help people to share content, personal opinions, to build communities shares common interests, such as hobbies, favourite subject, to encourage voting, comments and sharing the information. Social Media is redefining how we relate to each other as humans and how we as humans relate to the organisations that serve us. They can then become effective channels in promoting Accelerated Learning Techniques in its multifarious forms as discussed in the previous articles.
2.3: The I-Wheel :
It is a new form of Social Technology which is particularly relevant for the promotion of ‘ Accelerated Learning’ environment through the development of new literary skills, promotion of participative culture and sharing of the knowledge through interactive web tools. However, clear cut results have not emerged so far in proving its effectiveness but this might have to do something with regard to the short span of time it is in use rather than the efficacy per se. Over a period, it may emerge as a successful social technology something similar to Facebook or Twitter.
2.4: Web Citizens:
This has given the scope for the birth of a new class of people who have been associated with the term coined above. By this, scholars and practitioners in the field drive the point that it is this class of citizens who have facilitated through a computer-human interaction a human-to-human face by utilising wisely the benefits conferred by the emerging technologies. This has brought about significant changes in the way learners handle the contents. By redefining the way the Social Media can be exploited, these new classes of citizens who can appreciate such values by blogging, commenting or expressing through online polls. (Armano, 2008) would make a change in the field of Accelerated Learning.
These citizens are not just individuals as along with them a new class of social citizenship has come into being which is reflected in the explosive growth of social networking sites. Thus, whether it is Twitter or Facebook or that matter lesser known ones like ning.com are all examples of social citizenships and by enabling power makers from taking an individual decision to consultative and collaborative decisions by connecting to people across all walks of life.
It would only be fair to end this article and the whole series by very briefly presenting a particular set of views available in the Web to the effect that ‘Suggestopedia’ of Dr.Lozanov has been twisted to misrepresent many of his viewpoints to secure unfair monetary gains that too by offering instant fixes.
Dr.Lozanov’s ‘Suggestopedia’ is NOT, repeat, NOT:
Though Dr Lozanov, Accelerated or brain-friendly learning has been increasingly accepted amongst trainers and people developers, but are we missing much of this learning via the internet? Himself once upon a time was a hypnotist, in his later approaches he has rejected the use of it. He had highlighted the negative side of hypnotherapy in an exercise he had undertaken with Evelina Gateva in which he had removed all the references that could trigger a ‘hypnotic state of mind on the ground that in such a situation the subject surrenders himself/herself to a hypnotical dictator. This takes away the freedom and creativity of learners and that is not the essence of ‘Suggestopedia’.
The authors of this concept were not trained by Dr.Lozanov and it had been written not arising out of extensive research but of a short observation of his experimental research.
As a result, there is scope for misconception in it.
(iii) Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP):
To Dr.Lozanov and his Suggestopedia, NLP is not acceptable as it aims at ‘programming’ the personality of the learners which is equivalent to hypnosis as this involves manipulating the personality by a ‘dictator’ which means the loss of freedom of the subjects.
(iv) Use of reclining chairs or sofas in the classrooms:
The classroom where Suggestopedia is thought, there is a central table surrounded by ordinary chairs and hence never ever had advocated the use of reclining chairs or sofas in which the students are made to lay down for listening to the voice of the teacher. This in effect would mean invoking hypnosis on the learners.
(v) Use of breathing, visualization, alpha wave exercises, selling tapes, biofeedback devices or mechanical materials on the ground that they are all similar to hypnosis that transfer the control of the learners to a master and hence not acceptable.
(vi) Use of slow baroque and rap music in the concert reading: Suggestopedia uses baroque music pieces in the second ‘passive’ concept session and never recommend the usage of ‘Adagio'(playing of music in a leisurely manner). Similarly, it is a no to rap music as it is presumed to be dominated by a monotonous rhythm and beat that may cause hypnotically state of mind.
(vii) Teachable without a teacher and not just a group of teaching techniques:
Suggestopedia invokes emotion as an essential ingredient to stimulate the whole personality for which harmonious coordination of conscious and Para conscious state of mind is needed. self-study can not facilitate this. Similarly, there needs to be a strong theoretical basis for the teaching of Suggestopediavisualisation. Techniques not supported by such a theory, say, for instance, rendering a set of concert reading sessions in the traditional setting language classroom, do not work.
It is neither the objective of this Paper to verify these claims nor does it mean that it accepts such generalised views that would undermine a major volume of scientific work for the dissemination of which the Internet and Web have positively contributed. It has been presented to highlight some of the dissents that exist and leaves the judgement to the readers.
Armano, D (2008): Bridging The Social Divide, Logic + Emotion blog or AdAge.com, Available at http
http://adage.com/digitalnext/post?article_id=131858, accessed on Feb, 11th, 10
Kaz Haglwara: Mimeo “Suggestopedia” and Accelerative Language Teaching/Learning: , Accessed on 12th Feb 10. (page not accessible 12/3/10)
S Lovink (2007); Accelerated Learning Pathways for Sustainable Development within … http://www.planet2025.net/Accelerated%20Learning%20Pathways-Print.pdf accessed on 11th and 12th Feb, 10://darmano.typepad.com/logic_emotion/2008/10/click-for-large/