Why are accelerated learning techniques so important?
Do you learn some things easily and struggle over others? What, specifically, is your brain doing when it learns easily? What is it doing when it makes it difficult to learn something? Would you like to find out?
· The advantage of knowing how your brain learns what it learns is that you can:
· Save time
· Use that time to learn other interesting things
· Do other things you enjoy more
· Learn more deeply
· Enjoy the process of learning
· Upskill for work or life
· Get top marks in a course
· Become an expert in your field and get paid for it
· Live an enriching life full of curiousity and wonder, and never be bored...
What do you mean by accelerated learning?
Accelerated learning is about learning more quickly, more effectively and most importantly, more ENJOYABLY. The brain likes FUN! When the brain has fun, it learns fast! And when you know exactly HOW to use your brain, there is more fun and less frustration.
How learning occurs in the mind...(in the NLP model)
In NLP we ask questions to find out 3 things:
1. How do you talk to yourself (yes - people do talk to themselves)
2. How do you picture things in your mind's eye
3. How does your brain know what you are feeling and where in your body you are feeling your feelings?
Smell and taste are also important, but we can find out most of what we need by looking at your self talk, your mental pictures and your feeling sensations.
Why is this important to know this?
Because we can get clear about how the mental strategy you need if you want to learn easily.
Lets compare two students. Max and Harry. Both are of similar intelligence and age and neither have any particular learning "issues" that have been identified. But Max seems to absorb information quickly and get maximum test scores easily. Yet Harry finds learning hard and slow and he feels like it takes a lot of effort to "drum things into his brain".
The NLP Effective Learning Strategy
Everyone is unique, however in NLP we have found there are some common ways in which our brains learn and it's important to understand those before focussing on the differences.
Chances are Max is using an effective learning strategy. When he needs to study for a test, he takes these steps:
1. He gets himself in a good mood.
Perhaps he goes for a run or eats a snack, takes a shower, puts on some motivating music to help with this. He then brings that good feeling to the work he is about to do rather than hoping the work will make him feel better. And he says to himself, in a warm, encouraging tone of voice "I can figure this out", or perhaps, "I can do this".
Max looks at the work like a block of cheese. And his first step is to IMAGINE breaking up the cheese into three blocks. And then to look at the three blocks and decide which one he FEELS like doing first. Maybe they all look the same. And yet, taking a moment to choose which one feels best to start with is actually a key step of an effective learning strategy.
3. Eye Movements
An important part of this is knowing where to move your eyes. Max knows how to do this unconsciously - he doesn't have to think about it. But there is a sequence to the eye movements since the eyes look in different directions to remember, or to imagine or to self talk or to check in with feelings. A skilled NLP coach can show you how and where to look in a way that works better for you. And also how to visualise efficiently and effectively.
Once Max has chosen the piece of information he would like to learn, he takes a moment to get curious about it. Curiousity is an important feeling-state that allows the mind to relax and to wonder. Perhaps a moment before, or a moment after this feeling occurs, Max asks himself a leading-forward question in a curious tone of voice. This is the type of question that creates positive feelings. "When might it be important to know this information?", "Who could this information help?", "How would Bill Gates or Elon Musk use this information?"
5. Strategic Action
Max then decides on a strategy to learn this information. Traditionally students were taught to number notes down the page similar to this article. But in NLP there are other strategies that work more quickly.
One is knowing how to move your eyes and how to picture the information you want to remember. It's important to picture new information in the same place in your mind's eye that you store information you already understand and feel comfortable with. If you store that information in the same location in your mind's eye as you store confusion, you could spend a lot of time going over and over it and still feel confused.
Another way is to use mind-maps to take notes. When you make a mind map, you turn the page around so it's in landscape, rather than portrait view. You put the main idea as a circle in the middle and then draw branches out to other supporting ideas. You can also use different coloured pens, drawings, doodles, diagrams and different shapes to help your brain have FUN remembering the information.
Once you have finished your mind map, you can use your brain to "take a photo" of the mind map if you know exactly where to move your eyes. Once you have that photo in your mind's eye, you can close your eyes and start reading the mindmap aloud so you can hear yourself saying it. You can open your eyes to check and then close them again.
Once you feel like the information is correct and you know it for sure, you can then compare the mental picture of you now, to the you half an hour ago who did not know that information. And then, most important, take a moment to FEEL good about it!
The Ineffective Learning Strategy
Going backwards, through the steps, Harry finds learning hard because instead of comparing what he has just learned to his previous self, he compares himself to a mental picture he has in his head of an ideal teacher or expert and then feels bad - like he's not up to that perfect standard. There are eye movements that go with this too. Because he is not conscious of the way his eyes move, Harry is not sure how to change where they go. So he gets stuck in a loop.
Harry then finds himself taking notes down the page - but they all look the same to his brain - the same colour ink, the same handwriting...all the information looks the same. So he gets lost and feels like giving up.
Part of the problem was how Harry began. He wasn't feeling very good when he started to study but he told himself in a loud, harsh voice "I have to get on with this or I will fail". When he hears the word fail, in his mind's ear, he feels bad and gets a picture in his head of a low mark. Then he imagines how that will feel. Not good, so he decides he needs to work even harder.
But Harry started out feeling bad. And he got straight to work without eating anything or getting any exercise. So now he feels anxious and confused. He reads over the information and it feels like it's swirling round in his head. And there's so much of it. He has to learn it all tonight! Because he has a test tomorrow! But he feels awful, so he goes to the kitchen to get something to eat, and then he sees his favourite show on tv... and everyone else is watching it, laughing, and having fun, so...
Choices - how to run your brain!
There's nothing right or wrong about Harry's approach. It's just that he's experiencing distraction, confusion, anxiety and those are not very pleasant, so his brain will lead him to do activities that are more fun. And he will experience the consequence of getting a lower grade than he hoped for in the test. And he might decide that he's not a good learner.
Whereas, we can now see, that if he used his brain the way Max does, it could be more fun and he might get a more enjoyable result.
Now, Max or Harry are only two models for learning. And they are general approaches. If you want to learn the Max model, or, you'd like to find out more about how your brain works, and how to get the best of it, get into some NLP books or explore NLP online!
Or, give me a call and lets have a chat about how I can help you, your students, or workmates learn faster, more deeply and in a way that is rewarding for you. In addition to being an NLP coach, I taught high school English, Drama and ESOL for over 8 years, and these techniques work! If you want to know about the NLP Spelling Strategy, click here
Phone 0275 11 69 94 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or if you just want to book a free 30 minute appointment online
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