Technology, as the term suggests, is another name of acceleration. Today, this technology is massively being integrated with learning environments, leading to increasing number of online modes of learning including MOOCs, webinars, online lectures, discussion boards, e-mails, video learning and so on. I have discussed in quite a number of posts that how technology leads to accelerated learning, however, here I would discuss it from some newer perspectives.
Technology ushers in basic structural changes that could be vital to attain significant improvements in learners’ productivity. Used to support both learning and teaching,technology blends classrooms with digital learning tools like hand held devices and computers; expands course offerings, learning material and experience; supports learning 24/7; builds skills required in information era; increase students’ involvement and motivation; and accelerates learning. Technology also holds the power to transform instruction by ushering in a novel model of connected teaching. This model connects instructors or trainers to their students or learners, and to professional resources, content and systems to lead improvements in instruction, and personalize learning experience.
Online learning opportunities and the application of open educational resources and other relevant technologies increase educational productivity by boosting the rate of learning, reducing costs of instructional material and program delivery, and better utilizing instructor time.
Online or virtual learning
Online learning opportunities range from supplementing classroom instruction on an occasional basis to enrolling learners in full time programs. These opportunities entail dual enrollment, credit recovery, and summer school programs, and can make courses available to students unable to attend campus. This is an academic context.
Talking about the corporate training, the online tools are used for catering employees’ training needs, development of skills and making them learn the concepts to apply at real work settings. Accelerated training is achieved since employees are able to apply the real hand knowledge to real hand problems and thus, enhanced performance achieved at the same time.
Increasing number of organizations including the leading ones like Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Unilever, P&G etc have long been using such training structure for training and development of their employees. One of IBM’s HR representatives says that these programs help them determining the skill level of their workforce, thus help in defining the JDs and assessment criteria of the employees. It also helps in redefining the hiring policy every year.
What makes an accelerated learning design?
Participants consider a learning environment important that is aimed towards optimizing their connections with one another, the facilitator and the content. They walk into a room established to make it fit for purpose during any specific activity. Participants spend their time developing community among themselves and collectively they focus on the praxis, whether project development, leadership, a new technology and system, or sales.
Experimentation and playful discovery
Participants learn through discovery, experience, reflection, experiment and discussion. The procedure is intentional and immersive. Everyone experiences it with a sense of posing questions, discovery, analyzing, testing, reflecting and discussing. When there is a need to show content to the group, it is done through encouraging as much as interaction with the content as possible as opposed to sit and get approach.
If learning is about transforming how people think and act by developing skills and using them in real world, then reflective practice plays a major role to yield accelerated learning. Research on the transformative learning shows three things that are required for change to happen:
- The right experiences
- Reflection of these experiences
- Dialogue about what they have discovered and experienced
In technology enabled learning environment, you would find reflection throughout the program, and also different kinds of reflective activities in support of transformation and deeper learning.
Since facilitator acts like a filter for everything in a technology enabled learning program,
they are actually the key success factors. Their ability and presence to response towards things that occurs in ways that support learning and development supports the form of learning and change required for real impact back at work or in learners’ lives.
Around half of the time in a technology based accelerated learning program, the ongoing accelerated learning designer or facilitator works on developing skills, attributes and qualities that learners need to become persons who can facilitate learning and development process in an effective and efficient way.
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