The SAVI approach to learning

The SAVI approach to learning

1.0: Introduction:

In Accelerated Learning, the acronym ‘SAVI’ stands for Somatic, Auditory, Visual and Intellectual methods of imparting education. In non-technical terms, it is learning through physical activity, talking and social interaction, listening and watching, and thinking, reflecting (and) analysing respectively. It was developed by the Center for Accelerated Learning.

In this article, we propose to deal developments in the background of this concept.

2.0: How SAVI works:

Fundamentally, it combines two modes in order to create one primary learning type and consists of four layers.

Layer 1—The connector wherein the connection to learning takes place through tapping the auditory and visual skills of the learners.

Layer–2–The Analyser in which the observational and analysing skills of the learners are brought into focus.

Layer–3–The Applier wherein the learning takes place through a process of analysing and doing.

Layer–4–The Innovator who learns by doing and talking.

3.0: Practical Applications of SAVI:

Maxfield (1990) was of the opinion that consciousness, thinking and learning are active through out the body as against the conventional wisdom that it was restricted only to the brain. This implied that the body through its movements is capable of causing attitudes, beliefs, and expectations through the manifestation of physical feelings and reactions which are capable of either enhancing or inhibiting the process of learning. In order to enhance the capacity for learning, he proposed a combination of rational and non-rational methods of learning and the use of a variety of mind-body tools as bio-feedback, meditation, hypnosis and similar auto suggestion techniques all aimed at enable learning through relaxation.

One of the important foundations on which the ‘Accelerated Learning Theory’ has evolved relate to the principle of ‘collaborative learning’. In simple terms, this as postulated by Meier, (2000) meant that learning is social in nature and the guiding principle of it should be cooperation rather than competition between the speeds of the learners and the learning processes. It provides a community of support for each and every individual in the facilitation of their learning (Brooks, 1998) and builds on a constructionist conception of knowledge creation, solving of problems and creation of solutions. This is accomplished by pooling in the strengths of variety of intelligences available with the learners in the group and sharing of such knowledge (Drago-Severson et al, 2001). Collaborative learning, in the process, strengthens the relational and emotional lives of the students (Imel, 2002). It is not out of place to mention that we have already pointed out in earlier articles that Howard Gardener had established that each individual possesses at least two strong intelligences and collaborative learning enables them to shine in the most optimal manner.

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Kasworm (2003) through her research on adult degree completion program had identified three components that are essential if Adult Learning’ in an ‘Accelerated Learning’ environment were to succeed.

Firstly, the trainers/teachers would have to assume primarily that adults are competent contributors to the congenial growth of the society. This in other words means that ‘Accelerated Learning’ works because the learners do not come into the class room with a blank mind, but are there to build on the learning that has already taken place in them.

Secondly, adult learning programs take the personal, social, and cultural context of learners seriously. In practice, this means successful ‘Accelerated Learning’ programs seek a class room environment aligned with the learners’ realistic day-to-day world.

Thirdly, ‘Accelerated Learning’ programs in order to be successful build on ‘adult identity theories (Baxter, Kegan, 1994) which postulate that an adult’s identity depends on a sense of mastery and internally motivated authorship. Adult learning should be distinguished from, say, the learning programs for children, as it has to focus on solving real-life problems. This means that the learning should be based on experience, out of which newer theories are created which again are applied in a new experiential context (Kolb, 1984).

It in effect, what we have discussed above as a whole confers innumerable benefits on the learners. They could clarify their values, actualise self-realisation through introspection, understand the self better, monitor, and modify their attitudes. They strengthen inter personal skills, enable experimentation of new ideas and develop positive attitudes through a mechanism of receiving feedback on a concurrent and continual basis in a supportive and secure environment.

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4.0: Conclusions;

It may be appropriate to conclude this Article with some suggestions for practitioners which they can use gainfully in their training programs. The fundamental requirement for any program to succeed is the realisation on the part of the teacher/trainer that in an ‘Accelerated Learning Module’ that every one is a learner as well as a teacher. Further, it is their enthusiasm, content expertise, inter-action with the learners with a caring attitude that would go a long way in the fruitful fortification of their sessions. Building up an atmosphere of trust and nurturing relationship, the trainer can encourage the learners to share their goals and experiences. Collaborative learning in effect implies the working together of the group in learning/training programs and this can be achieved if the trainer acts as a bridge in connection the members of the group as a cohesive entity. The trainer should aim and accomplish the goal of holistic learning by controlling even such factors as the arrangement of the class room to using a variety of ‘Accelerated Learning Techniques’ that draws the varied strengths of ‘SAVI’. It goes even beyond that which would encourage the learners to present their learning in ways reflective of their dominant intelligences (Costanzo, 2001) as originally propounded by Howard Gardener in his ‘Multiple Intelligence Theory.’ The key to success lies in the drawing the learners into active learning, avoid monotony and engage all aspects of the brain-mind-body connection.


Baxter Magnolia, M. B. (1999): Creating contexts for learning and self- authorship. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press
Brooks, P. (1998). Cohort communities in higher education: The best example of adult education. Proceedings of the 39th Annual Adult Education Research Conference, San Antonio, Texas, May 15-16, 1998
Costanzo, M. (2001): How can teacher and student, working collaboratively, a) identify the student’s strongest intelligences through MI-based assessment and classroom activities? b) Use the understanding of these intelligences to guide the learning process? In S. Kallenbach & J. Viens (Eds.), Multiple Intelligences in practice: Teacher research reports from the Adult Multiple Intelligences Study. NCSALL, Occasional Paper. (pp. 27-60). Boston, MA: National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy
Drago-Severson, E, Helsing, D., Kegan, R., Popp, N., Broderick, M., & Portnow, K. (2001): The power of cohort and collaborative groups; National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy, Available at and accessed on 31st Jan, 10.
Gardner, H. (1983): Frames of mind. New York: Basic Books
Imel, S. (2002): Adult learning in cohort groups; (ERIC Practice Application Brief No. 24). Columbus, OH: Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education
Kasworm, C. (2003): From the adult student’s perspective: Accelerated degree programs, New Directions for Adult and continuing Education 97(Spring 2003), 17-27.
Kegan, R. (1994). In over our heads: the mental demands of modern life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Maxfield, D. (1990): Learning with the whole mind. In Robert Smith and Associates (Eds.) Learning to learn across the lifespan (pp. 98-122). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Meier, D. (2000): The accelerated learning handbook. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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About Mike Morrison

Mike Morrison is founder of RapidBI
Mike is a consultant and change agent specialising in developing skills in senior people to increase organizational performance.
Mike is also founder & director of RapidBI, an organizational effectiveness consultancy.
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