Accelerated Learning

Neurons in the brain Credit: Dr Jonathan Clarke. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk  images.wellcome.ac.uk  Pyramidal neurons forming a network in the brain. These are nerve cells from the cerebral cortex that have one large apical dendrite and several basal dendrites. Colour-enhanced light microscopy 2003 Published: -  Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons by-nc-nd 2.0 UK
Credit: Hljod.Huskona of FlickR

What is the state of accelerated learning currently?

It must have moved on since the 80’s when I got introduced to it.

I am going to start a practical project to investigate…

I remember the days I first started working, very late 70’s, early 80’s, personally not a happy time, for all the wrong reasons. The time when I was about to make as many mistakes as humanly possible to waste a life there were a few things that inspired me and kept me going. Those things seem to be at the core of really my whole life and call me back every so often. Well, the call is here again for one of the ideas that was inspired by a newly published book I was reading at the time, Superlearning, by Lynn Schroeder and Sheila Ostrander. Here begins another tentative new start for a new project I will research and practise on … accelerated learning.

I have no idea of the state of this area at the moment and I think it will be fun to find out how things have progressed. I did look at times in the past but didn’t really find anything of interest or note.

Superlearning was based on the work of a Bulgarian called Georgi Lozanov. He was a psychiatrist, at the time behind the ‘Iron Curtain’, who appeared to find ways that extraordinary levels of learning and self-healing were possible under the right conditions. The book as I recall was rather incomplete but filled with enough information and ideas to inspire me to try out a number of exercises, though with dubious success. I remember trying to put tapes together that had lists of items I wished to remember, spliced and mixed with 60 beats per minute classical music. To get any benefit was a long drawn out process, remember it was the early eighties and really took away the benefit of the accelerated learning. I mean, by the time I actually did create the tape I could have actually learned the list by rote anyway, so that is why it had its limitations. But the ones I actually finished, after following the procedure of relaxing and listening did impressively make a difference. It was impressive enough for me to know that I experienced effortless learning at a speed that was staggering, it was an exciting discovery. However, the dull distractions of life took over and any more effort seemed impossible. I think the book has survived the years and is hidden away somewhere with my other paraphernalia, I will have to dig it out one day.

A 200 Mpc simulation of the dark matter structure in the universe (credit: Suvendra Dutta)
large-scale structure A 200 Mpc simulation of the dark matter structure in the universe (credit: Suvendra Dutta)

I found it really fascinating that we actually lived in a reality where we needed to learn at all. How did all that come about, it made the concept of learning a really artificial one that had no purpose but yet it existed. I wondered whether somehow the universe may have become conscious (i.e. God) and in an effort to understand its existence set off this curious process of life to reach its conclusion. But to do that it needed to separate infinitesimally into ignorant identities and test out different theories – hence learning being a way of creating the differences in concepts to see which survived. I know, a little deep, but I meant well…

Well – What’s that got to do with me now?

Well I am not that teenager anymore; I am now approaching my 50’s and as far as I can tell, not as bright as I was then. I am finding it harder to take in and remember information and this upsets me a great deal, it makes me feel rather ‘thick’! Admittedly the rate at which information hits us all nowadays has increased many times more than it did then, but still, I want and expect more. I have a growing desire to achieve things that in my present state are simply impossible without learning a vast amount in a short time.

So, here is my ‘accelerate learning’ project. I will catch up and report back on any advancement in this area and put it to work to see what can be done nowadays. I am sure things have moved on and it’ll be exciting to see what has been learned.

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