Luminary Perspective

March 21, 2006

Fluency-Based Learning

Filed under: Accelerated Learning, Efficiency, Writing & Education — Luke @ 8:27 am

There has been some fascinating research done in fluency-based learning. This is a training technique where higher-speed, rhythmic answering of questions is favored over short-term accuracy. With my current understanding of neurochemistry and accelerated learning, this makes a lot of sense.

Rhythm releases energy-carrying chemicals into the nerves, muscles, and brain cells involved, and helps thoughts to occur synchronously with each other so they can connect logically. It also links them together in the memory, boosting long-term retention. The faster you practice something, the more energy is supplied when you try it the next time. Having this extra energy available creates an added boost to performance and memory for the skill, even if it wasn’t done with pure accuracy the first time.

In my experiments with the Dvorak typing tutor, I have found that by getting into a rhythm and not breaking it, I get more learning done than by going for strict accuracy. Not to say accuracy isn’t worth striving for, but it is a different function from fluency, which is having the right answer come to you immediately.

Howard Stephen Berg’s famous speed reading course starts out by instructing you to train yourself by reading through the book without even trying for comprehension, rubbing your hand across the pages in various rhythmic patterns. This is to condition your mind to expect mental activity at that rate, and supply a steady flow of energy to the high-speed reading rate that you are shooting for. It also helps train your eyes not to get fixated for too long on a given part of the text, but to rhythmicly move over the whole page.

Writing is another area where I believe the concept of fluency-based learning has helped me. I write more quickly than I would naturally be inclined to, and don’t worry about mistakes until after I’ve made them. I actually make fewer of them this way, and it increases my writing speed more in the long run as well.

F high-speed testing
L  prepares the mind : supplies more energy : better retention
U speed-reading
E  high rhythmic rate conditions mind : more energy made available
N speed-writing
C  write things faster and rhythmicly : quality can be worked on seperately
Y
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