Accelerated Learning principles, applied to safety training, can be very powerful tools - especially when you consider the topics that safety trainers often try to teach. These are often life and death issues and the absorption and retention of this information is extremely important. Traditional safety training usually involves showing a video and then discussing the video as it relates to the company's program and policies or showing a PowerPoint presentation, reading the slides to the audience and then handing out a quiz. Accelerated learning is much different. Accelerated learning is focused on the results - not the methods. Whatever learning tools work to increase and enhance learning can be called accelerated learning methods. Many safety professionals spend a good amount of their work week training others. Accelerated learning principles can help you spend less time creating training and can help trainees learn faster (and remember more) so accelerated learning applied to safety training can be a win-win situation for everyone.
What is accelerated learning? Let's first discuss what it is not. Accelerated learning, although it often involves games, imagery and sometimes even music, is not just a bunch of fluff passed off as training. Accelerated training is not a class or class activity that is clever, funny or cute for the sake of being clever, funny or cute. Everything in an accelerated learning class is focused on the results and not the materials or activities themselves. For example, a safety trainer announces that everyone is going to get up play twister with the goal of getting everyone relaxed and "ready to learn". While this might seem like a fun icebreaker, the twister game is fun only for the sake of being fun. None of the information to be covered in this training is being reinforced by this activity. In an accelerated learning class, we might also play games but the games have a different focus - on the results, instead of the activity. For example, a BINGO game could be played where instead of a number and letter being called out, a clue is called. Instead of numbers being on the BINGO card, answers directly related to the training content are listed. This game is still fun, and gets everyone involved, but ncludes accelerated learning principles, especially when you have small teams work on each BINGO card instead of individually. A sample BINGO game (Exhibit 1) used in a safety leadership training class as well as the clue sheet (Exhibit 2) that the trainer used follow.