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Accelerated Learning

Accelerated learning allows students to complete education and training programs more quickly than traditional postsecondary instruction.

What is it? Accelerated learning strategies include the following:

  • integrating adult education with technical skills training rather than requiring students to enroll in separate classes
  • separating curriculum into manageable “chunks” or modules within a course or program, with each chunk acting as an advancing step along a career pathway
  • using “fast track” programming to allow students to progress through coursework at their own pace, through competency-based assessment and online learning
  • implementing prior learning assessments to award credit for knowledge gained outside of education and training programs, such as through work experience

Who provides it? Colleges, sometimes in partnership with community-based organizations. 

Why is it important? Adult learners who need additional education and training to succeed in the workforce may have difficulty completing traditional college or training programs. These programs may take too long for adult learners to complete to be worth their investment of time, not focused enough on specific occupational skills that lead to employment and require in-person training during times that overlap with work and family responsibilities. Accelerated learning aims to address these issues by both shortening the amount of time required and making program better match student schedules and priorities.