No Image Available


Read more from TrainingZone

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Feature: The Accelerated Executive


Clive Lewis MD of Illumine Training expains how Accelerated Learning can provide executives with a range of rapid response tools to help them cope with information overload.

So you are familiar with accelerated learning (AL)? Good for you. But take note, if you are a trainer or a training manager the issue isn’t about how AL can help you to run more engaging training courses but how you can transfer AL tools to those executives who need it.

The single most important factor driving the need for accelerated learning is information overload. We are in an intense period of ‘message saturation’ and as James Gleick, author of Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything suggests, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. "Because technology lets us do so much, today we take on too much and end up feeling overwhelmed and never 'finished'. We feel invaded by technology on all fronts, by the beeps of our pagers, cell phones, incoming faxes and those of others around us. We tote our laptops on vacation and our bosses expect us to carry sky pagers ... we never feel true down time any more."

It’s a fair enough picture and the costs are not only felt at a personal level. Businesses are clogging up too. While most of us accept the benefits of ‘instant access’ and accept the costs, we haven’t yet got to grips with the best ways to sort, absorb and handle all the information that comes our way.

How Can AL help?
In essence AL is a synthesis of what we understand about learning effectively and here are some of the key solutions it proposes.

* Managing ourselves better: What mental, physical and emotional states do we bring to learning or absorbing new information? What attitude do we bring? What expectations do we have? If we can engage positively we will be much more effective learners.

* Understanding our preferences: Some people like information presented visually, others prefer to hear it, others need to try it on for size. We all need to understand what our preferences are so that we can absorb learning in the form that suits us best

* Seven intelligences: AL has defined seven intelligences - mathematical/logical, linguistic, visual/spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal, physical and musical intelligence. If trainers only work in one field, say, logical then the learning will stay at the theoretical level. The challenge is to work in a variety of fields so that learning becomes stimulating and ‘sticky’.

* Storing the skills: When we are learning we also need to be given the opportunity to discover what it is like to practice new learning and get it ‘into the muscle’. Practise, as part of learning, boosts our confidence, energy and skill levels.

* Reviewing: Finally AL emphasises the need for review. Reviewing is all about our commitment to make the most of our capacity to learn so that instead of losing around 80% of new information within 24 hours we totally reverse the trend and retain most of what we have learned over the long term. .

This outlines the territory for AL and it is based on our increasing understanding of how the brain works. Now let me go on to look at three practical AL tools that illustrate how it can be applied by executives

1. Mind Mapping is one AL technique which executives will want to learn. In essence a Mind Map provides a visual representation of the way that we think. And we don’t think in lists, we think in images and themes, shapes and patterns, all connected one to another.

Let’s take an example. If you consider for a moment the last project you were involved in a number of associated thoughts will spring to mind – the purpose of the project, the project team, the timescale, the obstacles you had to overcome, implementation and so on. And as you think of each of these key themes you will have hundreds more associated thoughts. With a Mind Map you could capture and store such information and present it in a format that the brain immediately recognises. Whether executives are using Mind Mapping for their own learning, for note taking, for idea generation or for presentations, it provides a great example of AL in action

2. Another great AL technology is speed reading – a linguistic skill. Knowledge is the fuel executives need if they are going to drive their careers forward and they need to be able to assimilate information fast especially when under pressure. And that’s where personal technology tools like speed reading are essential.

For fast moving executives who want to read faster, understand better and remember more speed reading is a must have. It allows people to treble their reading speed so that, in effect, they can do an hour’s work in 20 minutes. No executive would argue against such an improvement in efficiency so it is just a question of learning how to do it and building up your muscles in this area.

3. The last technique I want to outline is how to help you think on your feet. This combines logical, linguistic and interpersonal intelligence so that people make the impact they want.

We all need to improvise on occasions e.g. in sales situations, in team meetings and during presentations - but most of us are not very good at it. We can overcome this by using a logical structure to support our spontaneity. In practical terms this means thinking about the needs of our audience (presenting the core theme) breaking down our ideas into manageable chunks (three or four key points) and then ensuring we maintain momentum by reaching a conclusion. With such a structure to keep us on track we can use our right brain to add the colour e.g. by using stories, anecdotes or Mind Maps.

These are only three of a vast range of AL techniques but for busy executives they have proven to be extremely useful ones. For those who are suffering from information overload they start to demonstrate exactly why AL is valuable and how it can provide real benefit.

* For more information on Mind Mapping go to Mind Mapping is a registered trademark of the Buzan organisation.


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!