Accelerated Learning

By admin / March 19, 2009
By: Gerard O Donovan
Category: Coaching

Having been a self-development trainer for many years I have come to the conclusion that when looking at the many life skills that humans need to master in order to mould for themselves a joyous, fulfilling and creative life, accelerated learning skills are probably the most important of all. Not only do these skills make a huge difference to the individual, they also have a massive impact on the corporate sector. The annual figure spent on corporate training is colossal and yet without the implementation of these foundation skills it is apparent that the vast majority of this money, representing thousands of pounds, is being totally wasted.

As opposed to the "one career' life typical of yesteryear, in today's age most people are being required to make several changes during their working life. It is predicted by Charles Handy, Professor of Economics, that in the generation to come it will not be unusual for someone to have between 5 and 7 completely separate careers. This means that not only must we be adept at change, but also comfortable and confident amongst this constant bombardment of new information and demand for learning. It is already the case that "intellectually' talented people demand higher salaries than those that are "physically' advantaged, and this will be increasingly so in the work environment that is developing.

In this ever-changing world with its fast pace, uncertainty and job insecurity, the only thing that is certain is uncertainty itself. In almost all occupations knowledge is doubling every 2-3 years meaning that someone who is fully qualified in the year 1999 might find their qualifications woefully inadequate by the year 2002.

As the economy in the world shifts, people who are appropriately educated will tend to do best and the premium that society will pay for such skills will climb. "Appropriate' education will be increasingly biased towards the incorporation of accelerated learning techniques, which will provide the core skills necessary to succeed and grow in the years to come. It is important that you look upon life as a lifelong adventure, and appreciate that the future belongs to those who are prepared to change and learn, and that to stand still is really to go backwards

The most important aspect of learning is being proficient in how to learn. Once you can master this ability, no new project, language or situation will again overwhelm you. And once you possess the basic techniques then, like riding a bicycle, they will be with you forever, meaning "the world is your oyster'.

To increase your effectiveness in studying in this new age of information overload must you just push yourself harder? Fortunately, the answer is NO. Rising stress levels caused by the need to acquire boundless information forced a study of this issue and a search for solutions. The result was the set of principles developed by academics and known internationally as "accelerated learning'. This uses some of the recent advances in cognitive science and offers an exciting new prospective on harnessing the whole brain's phenomenal capabilities. Accelerated learning offers ways to unlock an amazing array of cognitive skills.

• Exponentially increased abilities for gathering, storing, comprehending, synthesising, sorting, implementing and retaining new-found knowledge.
• Improved concentration and efficiency for stress-free learning.
• Better strategic, critical and creative thinking.

Paradoxically, the strategy to access your huge hidden capabilities is not simply to push yourself harder but to work much more closely with your own hidden mind. Since these concepts are different from most traditional approaches to learning accelerated learning has developed avenues to greatly facilitate whole and direct brain function. Accelerated learning improves our approach to study through learning, research and theory and the laws governing the functioning of the brain. And uses techniques that tap into your brain's amazing and awesome capabilities.

But before considering entering upon the study of accelerated learning skills you should assess yourself - do you possess the two fundamental characteristics necessary without which you cannot even begin to develop yourself to your greatest potential?

1. A genuine desire to want to learn, and
2. A strong seated belief in your ability to learn.

Without fulfilling these basic criteria all the techniques and skills in the world will be of no use whatsoever and you will never fully develop.

So, what are Accelerated Learning Techniques? They are seven pillars, which combine to effectively provide a profoundly efficient and stress-free method of learning. These are:-

• Understanding the power of the mind and how it works
• Recognising the nine intelligence "types' and identifying your own
• Using mind maps
• Using music
• Speed reading
• Developing effective memory techniques
• Knowing how to study and learn

POWER OF THE MIND. Amazing as it sounds, it is only in the last 150 years that scientists have pinpointed where our brain is, and the last 15-18 years that they have begun to have a proper understanding of how it functions. Dr David Samuels of the Weizmamn Institute estimated that underlying the brain's basic range of activities up to 1 million chemical reactions take place every minute. There is a minimum of 1,000,000,000,000 (one million million) individual neurons or nerve cells. This figure becomes even more amazing when you realise that each of your neurons can interact with up to 100,000 other neurons in many ways at any one time. In fact, it has recently been estimated that the number of permutations may be 1 followed by 800 zeros. A number too enormous to think about. There really are no limitations whatsoever to the power of your brain. It is limitless.

INTELLIGENCE is not fixed but is a set of abilities and skills applied in a given context. A person can excel in one situation, displaying impressive intelligence and yet appear at a complete loss in another situation. Evaluated at its most basic level intelligence could be described as the ability to Learn - Retain - Recall - Apply. However, studied more closely, Professor Howard Gardner came up with the theory of multiple intelligences and it is now widely accepted that there are nine different "types' of intelligence -

• linguistic/language
• mathematical/logical
• musical
• physical
• inter-personal
• intra-personal
• visio-spacial
• naturist
• spiritual.

Unfortunately, the educational system of today is derived from the 1830's Prussian system, which addresses and values only two of these intelligence types - linguistic/language and mathematical/logical - and sadly fails those who fall into one of the many other categories. By identifying your own natural type of intelligence you are able to develop it to its full potential. Beyond this, it is also possible to learn how to consciously exploit your full range of intelligences; a technique that ensures balanced learning, and the ability to think in new and different ways.

MIND MAPPING is one of the fundamental keystones to accelerated learning. It is an invaluable device developed by Tony Buzan for learning, retaining, recalling and applying information, which is designed to use the whole brain. It will strengthen or develop your strategic thinking and problem-solving skills. Indeed, mind mapping is such a powerful tool that it can revolutionise your complete approach to work and life, allowing you to adapt a more dynamic, proactive approach to life and enhance your creativity. Mind mapping breaks away from the traditional method of "linear learning' (eg writing in lines) and uses patterns that work more efficiently with your "multi-dimensional' brain. If one had to choose just one of the accelerated learning skills it is mind-mapping that would have the most profound effect upon ones life.

LISTENING TO MUSIC that you enjoy is an uplifting experience, harmonising body and soul. However, used properly it is also an invaluable tool for effortlessly easing new information into your long-term memory. Music can mimic the brain's wavelength when it is in the receptive state for learning. The left half of the brain relates to the music's rhythm and sounds and the right side identifies with the textures of each sound. Therefore, learning new words or information against a set musical pattern unites left brain activity (words) and right brain activity (music). For example, Bulgarian educator, Dr Georgi Lozanov, in his pioneering work with accelerated learning techniques carried out extensive studies that demonstrated how Baroque music's steady tempo of 60 beats per minute parallels the brains wavelength when in a state of relaxed alertness, called Alpha, and is conducive to learning and retention.

SPEED READING is a technique which is governed by understanding how the eye interacts with the brain, recognising memory rhythms and adapting your reading speed for different reading matter. The average person reads at the rate of 240 words per minute, and yet, it is quite possible to obtain the skill of reading up to 2000 or more words per minute. The problems typically experienced by people include lack of concentration, poor recall, unsatisfactory level of understanding, limited attention span and the inability to deal with distractions. Many of these problems are routed in the traditional method of reading you were taught as a child. By re-adjusting this method most of these problems are eliminated and you can become not only a faster reader but a better one.

MEMORY. The belief that memory worsens with age is a fallacy. In fact, the memory is like a muscle; the more it is used, the better it gets. And vice versa. So it is important to learn how to utilise your natural learning style to ease memory recall. According to the 80/20 rule which is taken from Perato's Law (Alfredo Perato, Italy, 1895) the average person loses 80% of what is learnt within 24 hours, because it is not learned correctly. By learning the differing techniques and systems available to improve memory skills, you can ensure that facts learned are locked into long term memory.

HOW TO LEARN AND STUDY. Preparation is vital to any task. To enable effective learning to take place painlessly you must first prepare the mind. Accelerated learning techniques will show you how to gather information, without overload, sifting important information from the superfluous. The unique M.A.S.T.E.R. system will effectively enable you to fearlessly approach all future learning.
• M - Prepare the mind for learning
• A - Acquire the information
• S - Search out the meaning
• T - Trigger the memory
• E - Exhibit what you know
• R - Reflect on how you learned

An increasing number of companies are feeling the economic strain of providing necessary training, and are realising that much of the money invested in this vital area is not justified by the subsequent results. Returning to people who have attended courses after periods of one, three and six months, it is devastatingly apparent that very little of the course learning has been retained, and even less implemented. If 80% of learning is so rapidly lost it means that effectively 80% of the training budget is wasted. Therefore, it is essential that the basic skills of learning be absorbed first so that subsequent training is worthwhile. People need to have an understanding of how the brain works so that they can use it in the most effective way, and once they have established the skills incorporated within accelerated learning techniques they will find their life very much enhanced. Not only will it help them in their work but many other aspects of their life.

Hope, you enjoy this article.


Gerard O' Donovan is the founder of Noble Manhattan coaching Ltd, one of Europe's longest established coach training companies. He is also CEO of the European Coaching Institute, one of the world wide governing bodies from the profession of coaching. Gerard is one of the most highly sought-after executive coaches in Europe.

Contact Gerard at To know more about Gerard coaching expertise, visit Gerard shares his rich coaching experience freely with you, which can be accessed at

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