HUMAN NETWORK: The Need for Accelerated Learning in an Accelerating World

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There is no question that our world is moving faster today than ever before. New developments in communication, financial, and transportation technologies allow ideas, money, and people to travel across the globe with amazing speed. And with technology in every industry changing at such a fast rate, what are the implications of this for your own professional development? How can you prepare for a career path that may look totally different in 10 or even 5 years?

Here at Cheetah Learning, we’ve learned that the secret to keeping up with the fast-paced changes in any industry is to learn how to learn faster — also known as accelerated learning. Accelerated learning refers to the practices, habits, and techniques that enable you to assimilate new information quickly and to retain it for longer than with traditional learning approaches.

Most importantly, accelerated learning helps you overcome 2 major challenges unique to today’s ever-accelerating world:
1. the rapid growth of innovation, and
2. the increasing number of technological distractions in our lives.

The first challenge that professionals face in a faster-paced world is the rapid growth in the rate of innovation. For example, scientific innovation now doubles every 9 years.

What this means is that the nature of the work we do is also evolving rapidly across most industries. While in earlier eras professionals could spend a long time gaining education and job skills to help them prepare for a lifelong career at one company, today most people change careers at least 5 to 10 times over the course of their life. To adapt to and thrive in a career with ever-shifting job responsibilities and required skills, it is now essential to be able to learn and assimilate new information rapidly.

The second challenge that professionals face in today’s accelerating world is the proliferation of distracting technologies in all parts of our lives: texting, social media, email, chat, and other modes of instantaneous communication.

The New York Times, for instance, today produces as much information in 1 day as people experienced their entire lifetimes just 200 years ago. However, this does not mean that our brains are now able to process this quantity of information. This information overload then leads to distraction from our many communication technologies — which then prevents us from engaging in meaningful, focused learning.

And beyond information overload, instantaneous communication activates the limbic brain (leading to more emotional and impulsive decision-making), creates addictive behaviors relating to technology use, decreases the ability to focus, and impairs higher-order thinking. Accelerated learning techniques give people tools to avoid distractions and focus intently on the task at hand, bringing their mind up to peak performing condition.

With accelerated learning skills, you can quickly adapt to rapid innovation in your field and overcome the impulse to engage with distractions. People who gain the ability to do these 2 things then go on to become leaders in their field because they not only possess the knowledge and skills needed to do the job today, but they show that they are capable of adapting quickly to and thriving in a changing work environment.

Cheetah Learning created the Certified Accelerated Learner program to help people reach this level. We have validated the techniques that students master in the Certified Accelerated Learning program over the past 2 decades, and with over 70,000 students, through award-winning programs in Project Management, negotiations, and accelerated exam preparation. To learn more about the Certified Accelerated Learner program and Cheetah Learning’s other classroom and online courses, visit www.cheetahlearning.com.

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About Author

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP®, is the founder of Cheetah Learning, the author of the Cheetah Success Series, and a prolific blogger whose mission is to bring Project Management to the masses. Cheetah Learning was named Professional Development Provider of the Year at the 2008 Project Management Institute (PMI®) Global Congress. Michelle is recognized by PMI as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the world. For more information, visit www.cheetahlearning.com.

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