What Are the Different Types of Accelerated Learning?

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  • Written By: L. Nichols
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 03 September 2019
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Accelerated learning allows students to move through secondary school or college more quickly than their peers. The different types of accelerated learning that are most common include skipping grades, subject matter acceleration, early entrance to school or college, and advanced placement. Other types of accelerated learning include curriculum compacting, self-paced instruction, early graduation, correspondence courses, and credit by examination.

Parents, teachers, school psychologists, or other interested parties may begin the accelerated learning process if they decide that a student is intellectually and physically capable of moving beyond his or her current academic level. Students must be able to adapt and succeed with accelerated teaching methods. Once a consensus is reached that a child can benefit from moving ahead academically, he or she may participate in some form of accelerated learning. If a student excels in class and seems bored with the curriculum, it might be beneficial to present him or her with additional academic challenges. Active learning works well for advanced learners because it allows the curriculum to fit the student instead of trying to pigeonhole the student into the curriculum.

Experimental learning often means allowing a child to move ahead in his or her studies. Skipping grades — for example, bypassing fourth grade and moving right to fifth grade — is a common form of accelerated learning. Subject matter acceleration might include taking accelerated reading or accelerated math classes without bypassing a class grade.


Advanced learners may have an accelerated graduation date and advanced coursework while they are in school. Early entrance to school or college occurs when children or teenagers demonstrate an aptitude and the ability to excel in classes and to accept additional challenges. Advanced placement (AP) courses are a form of action learning where secondary school students take courses like accelerated reading or accelerated math in order to receive college credit. AP students will have already earned multiple college credits upon high school graduation.

Many advanced learners aren't challenged in the classroom and work better at their own pace. Curriculum compacting is a form of experimental learning where students can bypass certain introductory academic activities in the classroom. Students instead focus on classes like accelerated math or accelerated reading or other advanced activities and studies. Self-paced instruction, sometimes called independent study, allows students to choose their own pace and tempo for learning. Early graduation occurs when students have completed courses needed to graduate ahead of their class.

Advanced learners often take advantage of accelerated teaching methods; combined classes are an example of this sort of experimental learning. Students are given the opportunity to study and interact with others in more advanced grades, which may lead to skipping grades or taking AP courses. Dual enrollment is similar to an AP course of study; secondary students participating in dual enrollment will earn high school credits while taking middle school classes. High school students can receive college-level credits while taking high school classes.

Some forms of accelerated teaching methods take kids out of the classroom altogether. Correspondence courses are a form of action learning for advanced learners. Students may take classes online or by mail in addition to or in place of traditional classroom learning. Credit by examination allows students to take tests or to participate in some activity that demonstrates their skills and abilities, which may result in bypassing coursework or skipping grades.


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