The Accelerated Learning Cycle

The Accelerated Learning Cycle provides a framework for learning design and facilitation. It offers
structure while it maintains AL as an open system that can incorporate the needs of the
group at any given time.

Learner Preparation Phase

The Learner Preparation Phase helps learners focus on the learning to come, builds a sense of community around a given practice and the relevant content. It helps learners to be completely present, open to the learning to come and ready to collaborate and work together in support of each person's learning. It consists of two key parts, the work done before learners come together and what happens at the start of a program, a day or a class.

● Prework/Meaningful Assignments

Purpose: To provide an opportunity for learners to begin to think about the learning, the relevance to their lives, and what they want to achieve during the learning program. To begin to build learner engagement for the topic and the learning together.

Examples: Learners receive reading and thought-provoking questions relating the reading to their personal experience. They respond and send their responses to the facilitator and/or post on a wiki.
Learners observe things relevant to the content at their workplace or conduct a survey or interviews. Based on key thought-provoking questions, they share their insights with the facilitator, one another before or during the learning program.
Learners visit various websites and collaborate on teams around a specific topic in preparation for a simulated engagement session during the learning program where they present their findings and answer questions by stakeholders or some type.

● Welcoming / Centering / Community of Practice

Purpose: To create a safe, positive learning environment (welcoming).
To prepare the learners to “be present” or centered and able to focus on the learning.

Examples: The room design and set-up encourages creative thinking, collaboration and engagement. The overview of the program and framing focuses on learners' benefits and how their investment can make a difference.
Learners take time to reflect on why they are in the program, what matters to them, what they bring to the learning, and how they can add and receive value from the time invested.
After focused reflection, learners share their thoughts and ideas in community and build a sense of belonging, community and focus on an important praxis.

Connection Phase

Purpose: To surface what learners know or think they know about the topic. To find out learners feelings and opinions about what they will be learning and provide the facilitator with important information to build on and work with.
To help learners see the relevance and significance of the learning to them - the need and desire to learn and invest time in mastering the content and processes. To create and emotional connection to what is being "taught".

Examples: Gallery Walk (allow people to walk around, look at thought-provoking posters on the wall and talk about stands out in terms of the topic and its relevance)
Guided Imagery (A leader who inspired me, my vision for the future, a typical day at work)
Simulations (various simulations create an awareness of reality that is not always obvious - people can have ah-hah moments around the topic of concern)
Analogies and Metaphors (Ask learners to find a symbol or picture card that demonstrates change, creativity; one that they associate with nursing or leadership, etc)
Think about the best and worst (customer service situation, leader, etc) and share they qualities and characteristics of both.

Discovery Phase

The Discovery Phase uses creative presentations or discovery activities to introduce new content to the learner.

Purpose: To make certain that learners have all the information they need to begin to practice and apply it on their road to mastery.
To engage learners optimally by either presenting in a way that is engaging and memorable or by providing focused discovery activities that encourage learners to research, experiment, explore, analyze and present their learning back to the group.

Examples: Creative Presentations: learning videos, interactive lectures (short input, then interaction of some type, short input, repeat), panels discussions, skits to present ideas, demonstrations, building of model on the floor, etc.
Discovery Activities: various simulations and debriefs, research tasks in teams and presentations of findings to group, etc.

Activation Phases (Elaboration, Assimilation, Implementation)

Purpose: To develop the skills and mastery of the learners through a series of guided practice activities.
- Elaboration: Provides an opportunity to test recall of what was done in the Discovery Phase. Gives learners an opportunity to practice the basic skills and make certain they understand key concepts.
- Assimilation: Provides an opportunity to apply their learning in guided situations, receive feedback, refine their knowledge and skills, apply again, receive feedback, etc
- Implementation: Provides learners with an opportunity to practice dry run, applying the learning in a complex and realistic situation. They then receive final coaching in preparation for application at work or in their lives back home.

- Elaboration: game-like activities (jeopardy, memory, board games, short activities to practice listening, etc)
- Assimilation: role play with observers and coaching, skill practice using individual real situations, semi-guided activities where learners can "play" with the content and test their mastery, feedback, reflection and "take two" - a new opportunity to apply and improve.
- Implementation: complex role plays, elaborate final simulations, larger "capstone" project

Integration Phase

Purpose: To reflect on their key learnings of the day or module. To give learners and opportunity to give themselves, one another and the facilitator feedback.
To bring closure and a sense of accomplishment and empowerment to a group and individuals at the end of a program.
To prepare learners to transfer the learning to their lives. This often includes post work and support

Examples: Close each day with a reflection of some type on the day using symbol cards, graffiti wall, sentence completion, journaling, walk and talk, slide show review and pair sharing, etc.
Determine key actions they will take back at work or home and what they will need to succeed
Write and share personal learning story.
Post comments on flipcharts with feedback questions, etc.
Learning partnerships, wiki sharing, etc back at work