How Does IL Work?
IL is a learning system that works by (1) creating a supportive
physical and psychological environment and (2) completeing the IL
Creating the Environment 
IL seeks to create a natural, relaxed, and enjoyable learning
environment by eliminating all of the typical mental and physical
barriers to learning. IL surrounds the learner with images relating
to the subject matter, facilitating
immersion. Posters with definitions, key concepts, diagrams, etc.,
cover the wall of the training room. Articles on the subject are
always available on a side table. This technique takes advantage of
the facts that people always take mini-mental field trips as
attention wanders AND that repetition of any information often
enough will finally sink in! Seating is in a U-shaped semi-circle,
usually WITHOUT any tables to further remove barriers to learning.
Casual dress is encouraged and frequent breaks are taken to increase
the feeling of comfort in the learning environment.
Kline believes that the mental outlook of the group is the most
critical element for encouraging a receptive and creative learning
environment. This is accomplished by the positive, reinforcing style
of the instructor and the use of exercises designed for positive fun
and creativity. Two exercises aimed directly at encouraging positive
support within a group are Good-and-New and Think-and-Listen.
Good-and-New is a technique that turns habitually negative
attitudes into positive ones. A meeting starts with every person
getting a turn to say something good or new that happened to them in
the last 24 hours. If someone can't come up with something, then
several group members will share what they like about that person.
This creates a very positive atmosphere. Think-and-Listen begins by
posing a topic or question and then requires paired up students to
have one person answer the question while the other concentrates on
listening intently. After a specified time, they switch roles. This
technique capitalizes on the fact that most people never get
listened to adequately and that concepts are internalized well when
The IL Learning Cycle
The IL learning process is composed of three basic steps: input,
synthesis and output. These basic components are included in every
step of the IL Learning Cycle. Input is simply information that the
learner comes in contact with during the learning process. Synthesis
occurs as the learner's brain processes the information—comparing it
with previous experience, fitting it into a mental map of how the
universe works, comprehending and understanding the new input.
Output is the learner's response—this could be emotion, physical
activity, verbal response or performance on a test. A major weakness
of traditional teaching is the emphasis on input, leaving synthesis
to the initiative of the learner, and focusing output on formal
testing. IL is designed to help the learner with synthesis and
output—this is how the learning process is greatly accelerated! IL
accomplishes this through the IL Learning Cycle:
1. Decoding—Global Introduction
2. Active Concerts—Story/Dialogue
3. Passive Concerts—Guided Visualization
4. Activations—Learning Activities
5. Culminating Activities
The first three steps were discussed in the review of Lozanov*s
work. Decoding and Concerts are primary input phases. Activation
emphasizes synthesis. Culminating Activities and Assessment focus on
the output phase. Note that the input-synthesis-output process is
actually occurring continuously, interwoven into each of the steps
of the IL Learning Cycle. The following discussion will illustrate
the techniques for each of the steps.
A primary technique for decoding is the Body Sculpture. This
involves taking subject matter that can be conveyed in a diagram
with discrete elements (e.g., a flowchart) and developing visual
symbols for each element. Class participants then associate each
symbol with the subject matter element, symbols are given to
students and they replicate the diagram physically in the middle of
the classroom. This technique is especially effective when used as
an "Advanced Organizer"—to illustrate an overview diagram of the
entire subject matter to be covered by the training event, e.g.,
MRPII system diagram.
Mind-mapping is a primary visual technique that encourages
creativity and formation of personal mental models of the subject
matter. The central idea of a problem, lecture, paper is written
into a circle that becomes the "hub" of the mind-map. Then major
spokes off the hub become subheadings, with twigs coming off the
main spokes for additional ideas.
Mind-mapping is an effective technique for organizing information
(decoding), problem-solving or note-taking.
Active and Passive Concerts
The Active Concert is a story or dialogue which presents the
concepts or terminology of the subject matter in a learner-friendly
manner. The instructor reads from a prepared script using the voice
almost like an instrument to accompany the music being played. The
intent is to engage the learner with emotion, excitement, and/or
humor. The Passive Concert introduces new material using guided
imagery set to music while the learners relax, usually with their
eyes closed and/or the room lighting dimmed. The story utilizes all
five senses in rich visualizations of the new material.
To be Continued
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