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The Accelerated Learning Style: Is it Right for You?

by Tony L. Bell

Tony L. BellWith the ever-increasing advancements in information and technology, continuing education has never been more important. With these advancements, concepts in learning styles are also evolving, including the Accelerated Learning Style (ALS), a relatively new concept in education based on the work of Dr. Georgi Lozanov (a professor of psychiatry and psychotherapy) in the 1970s.

Accelerated learning is a combination of principles and techniques that allow learners to use their brains more efficiently. Potential students often misunderstand the concepts and requirements of an ALS program. The attraction of completing a bachelors or masters degree in as little as fifteen months is very alluring. Often overlooked, however, is that the volume of information covered in the ALS program is no less and often more than traditional programs. And the pace at which the information must be absorbed is very fast and not viable for everyone. Strong skills in reading comprehension, critical thinking, and articulating your thoughts in oral speech and in academic papers are necessary for success.

Traditionally, academic subjects are taught through lectures and logically formatted textbooks and courses, using rigid multiple choice, true or
false, and short essay testing to evaluate the learning outcomes. The subject matter is normally delivered in small blocks and taken one step at a time.
You independently attend the lectures, study the textbooks, and take the exams.

In contrast, ALS subject matter normally covers large blocks of information in great detail. The ALS places the responsibility of learning squarely on you, the student. After learning objectives and research materials are presented, you must prepare to participate in classroom discussions and demonstrations using the knowledge gained from the research materials and past personal experiences. The ALS actively involves you, using open classroom dialogue. All classmates bring differing perspectives and insights to the discussions and are expected to participate, creating a dynamic forum for learning. Failure to prepare quickly becomes apparent to everyone.

Often classes are divided into small groups and each is given a unique project concerning the main subject and a deadline. As a team they must prepare and deliver a thorough presentation of their project to the entire class. As a team member you must complete your part of the project.

Learning outcomes are evaluated by class participation and synthesis papers, in-depth papers written about the subjects that answer the questions:

  • What have I learned?
  • How have I learned it?
  • What difference does it make to me?
  • How have or will I use what I have learned?
This technique demands a thorough understanding of the subject and concise recollection; it demonstrates critical thinking and competence in your ability to articulate thoughts and understandings to others.

Research has revealed that three personality characteristics are essential to success in the ALS environment: motivation, determination, and responsibility. You as an ALS student must have a level of motivation that will sustain the desire to complete the program, the self-discipline necessary to complete the requirements, and a determination to deal with all of life’s distractions and stresses that invariably develop. You must be responsible.

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