THE Accelerated Learning Cycle
Introduction: Introductions serve the purpose of creating curiosity, interest, and motivation for learning the new content. This part of the cycle has multiple levels of purpose and activities. The establishment of a learning environment that is positive, relaxing, and pleasant is an important part of the AL introduction. In situations where students are unfamiliar with one another, the introduction will include getting-to-know-you activities. Introductions help students focus on the here-and-now and may even include some kind of physical or mind-calming exercise.
After the initial Introduction to the unit, all other introductory activities are referred to as: Warm-ups, Icebreakers or Reviews
Global Overview: An overview is especially important for the global learner, who needs to have the big picture in order to process the information. Global overviews may range from skits, to mind maps or provocative questions that hook the learner’s curiosity.
Active Presentation: An Active Presentation is a presentation of important subject information in an active manner. The learner may be physically involved in some way or involvement may be mental/emotional involvement only. A traditional method of presentation is called an Active Concert reading but active presentations may also be experiments, simulations or creative presentations.
The content of Active Concert readings is usually in the form of a story, a dialogue, or a metaphorical story. The story is read with music that acts as a “soundtrack” and increases attention. Active Concert may use a variety of relevant music. In traditional Active Concerts, teachers used Classical-era music of Mozart and his contemporaries, or the Romantic-era music of Dvorak, Bizet, Chopin and their contemporaries.
Passive Presentation: The Passive Presentation is designed to provide the learner with exposure to the subject matter in a different level of attention than that created in the Active Concert. A Passive Presentation generally uses music with the content to help the learner reach a state of relaxed alertness. In this highly effective learning state, the mind is in an alpha or theta brainwave state and the body is relaxed. Passive Presentations may be in the form of Passive Concerts, visual reviews, or guided learning experiences designed to create this state of relaxed alertness.
A Passive Concert consists of content read to the accompaniment of Baroque-era music or contemporary relaxation music. In a Passive Concert, participants will close their eyes, relax, and assume a comfortable position as they let the music and content be absorbed by their subconscious mind. The Passive Concert originally followed the Active Concert but in contemporary use it is often presented at the end of the AL cycle and used as a reflective review.
Another form of Passive Presentation is a Visual Review. These Passive Presentations use visuals, with or without spoken words that are displayed while background alpha-state music plays and participants quietly reflect on the visuals as a content review. Some trainers prefer to draw their own visuals or a mind map as they verbally review the content with quiet background music. Occasionally the Passive Presentation is eliminated entirely.
Debriefing Activities: Debriefing activities are generally teacher-directed. The teacher uses the auditory, visual and kinesthetic learning modalities to expand upon and explain key concepts. While the learning activities are teacher-focused, Debriefing Activities include some interaction. Students will usually spend some time in dialogue around the key concepts and play with the concepts at a rote memorization level. Debriefing activities are typically group activities, designed to create a non-threatening environment that allows students to feel comfortable providing answers and expressing themselves.
Practice Activities: Practice activities typically are large and small group activities that allow students to practice with the concepts. Recognition and matching activities are frequently used. Another term used to describe this part of the cycle is guided practice. In order to ensure that students experience success, AL instructors carefully move through this phase going from large group to individual guided practice as learners become more adept with the material. The Practice Activities address a variety of learning modalities, learning styles, and multiple intelligences.
Performance Activities: Performance activities begin in large groups to allow the learner an opportunity to practice performance in the safety of a large group. Activities gradually move to smaller groups and ultimately to individual performance. The activities range in sophistication from simple recall to more complex activities involving analysis, synthesis and application. During this phase students are often given the opportunity to “show they know” using the intelligence area in which they are the strongest.
Reflection/ Review Activities: These activities allow students to consolidate and review the main points. Reflective activities may include a passive concert, journaling or other types of review activities.
Celebration Activity: Celebration activities are culminating experiences that lead to action planning, real-world application of learning, inquiries leading to deeper thinking or simply a celebration of accomplishments.