Accelerated Learning, the Brain, Competencies and Interviews

Understanding the message

The manager’s tools for accelerated learning are explored in the MESSAGE model or template (McKee, 1998) which is one example of the application of accelerated learning which provides evidence of the neurological basis for accelerated learning. M – Mindset – the achievement of success and learning comes from a mindset, specifically ‘relaxed awareness’, which can be developed and enhanced. It concentrates on the pacing of learning, for example including a two-minute break every 45 minutes.

Brain, mind and behavior

It is becoming important to have some understanding of the links between brain, mind and behavior (Bloom and Lazerson, 1988). The new techniques that allow direct study of brain mechanisms and processes also shed new light on the study of mind and behavior. The complexity of the brain with the billions of nerve cells with each communicating with an average of 10,000 others, using chemical signals of which over 40 have been identified, means that for the purposes of personal and professional development it is necessary to understand the significance of this complexity and then to focus and determine the implications for learning. Knowledge of how the brain works is increasing rapidly. The two basic concepts of neuroscience are that the nervous system operates throughout the body and that the separate functions of the nervous system are carried out by subsystems organized according to the area of responsibility.

Mapping the mind

This focuses on how our personalities reflect the biological mechanisms underlying thought and emotion, and how behavioral idiosyncrasies are due to unique elements of the individual brain. An understanding of the shape and structure of the brain is increasingly recognized as linked to a conceptualization of the mind. The architecture of the brain can be understood as the hardware, and the mind the software which has links to thought, memory, consciousness and language. The discussion above implies that the better the understanding of the links between brain, mind and behavior, the more the teacher will have a professional understanding of their significance for teaching and learning. Accelerated learning is a way of unlocking that potential.

Self-managed learning

Self-managed learning is a process through which individuals determine what they learn and how they learn with others in the context of their unique situation. There are potential benefits in that the new knowledge, skills and abilities are defined in the learning contract as a basis for a personal development plan. The benefits include, for the individual, a better understanding of how they learn and a belief that they can, to a large extent determine their own future. For the organization this leads to a better matching of individual and organizational needs which can support broader organizational and cultural change. Self-managed learning is an approach ‘owned’ by the organization with a strong emphasis on the development of internal resources.

Interviews for professional development – evaluating the talented

The Gallup Organization has built a library of structured interviews over the last 30 years to measure ‘life themes’ in highly effective performers. These life themes focus on the intensity of the performer’s drive for task completion, based on a thorough understanding of their strengths focusing on the underpinning values and their determination to help others achieve quality.

Lastly Comment

A carefully selected mentor should recognize that ego is a key part of their talent and encourage them to set stretching expectations. The mentor will need to recognize that they have the self-confidence to believe they can achieve something of significance. High self-esteem enables such individuals to pursue challenging goals and achieving these reinforces their high self-esteem. This ego drive needs to be tempered with other qualities such as integrity, social responsibility, fostering relationships and a clear sense of purpose and forward direction.

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