Monthly Archives: February 2013

Revision? Forget it

How to Massively Improve Your Chance of Success, Now!

Become a VTF with AVPTGlobal

Become a VTF with AVPTGlobal

article by Tim T Dingle BSc (Hons) MIBiol PGCE MBA, Chief Development Officer at the Academy of Vocational and Professional Training (AVPTglobal)

I sometimes wonder what an alien might think if they were monitoring our schools, downloading training course and looking at how students try to learn.  They would be forgiven for thinking that they have been artfully designed to train students in the art of forgetting. Throughout the time you take most conventional courses (excepting, of course, the cutting edge ones at AVPT it may seem that you spend your time ‘learning’ and ‘revising’ for tests. What then follows is extraordinary; we forget that information within weeks.

This pattern seems continue throughout schools, professional training cycles and college courses. This heroic shuffling in and out of knowledge from our cerebral hemispheres seems to be a constant cycle. Then students are tasked, days before a crucial exam, with relearning everything that they have managed to forget over the course of the year. This is the classic ‘summative assessment’ situation with a history of failure in so many cultures.  This often takes almost as much time as if we were doing it from scratch. It seems that the UK Education Minister, Michael Gove is known to be an admirer of this system.

The reason that forgetting is so common in traditional learning cycles is that the way we are taught to encode and recall memories, causes fading over time. Those memories that can be recalled are the one that get repeated and are strengthened. They are prepared for the long term and placed within the Long Term Memory System (LTM). This is important because (from an evolutionary point of view) repetition correlates with importance. Meaningful or important things tend to happen again; random things tend not to.

One of the problems with most learning systems lies in a distinction between two ways to go about this repetition.  It can be separated into ‘spaced learning’ (SL) and ‘massed learning’ (ML). Massed leaning is sometimes called cramming. You may remember those long sessions; students love them and believe the longer they stare at their notes /books, the more it is effective. The spaced repetition method is where the repetitions are spaced out over a period of time. The best analogy is to think of memories as plants in the garden of your memory; then think of repetition as watering with your watering can.

The ML system is like watering a plant by emptying the whole watering can all at once; then failing to do so for months.  The mechanism for SL Learning is to imagine watering the plant once a week in measured amounts from the can, over a period of months. This regularity, combined with a systematic  approach and by using a ‘chunked up’ seems to be crucial to success; an approach that, we believe at AVPT, is how all online learning must develop. The long term effect of these totally different techniques of watering (but the same total volume of water) results in two very different plants (one is probably dead).

Now imagine something else that can radically improve memory and success. Incredible as it seems the greatest advances in improving our chances of success can be had for free, right now. I’m talking about improving your brain from the outside in. If you take it seriously it can and will lead to faster and more accurate decision-making. It will yield greater productivity and inspire innovation. If you want to be mercenary about it, it’s the kind of smart that starts making money.

All you need to ‘invest’ is approximately 30 minutes a day.  And maybe a decent pair of trainers. Over the last 30 years I have seen many articles describing how aerobic exercise is beneficial to health. There is no doubt there is a lot of truth in what has been written.  Improving oxygen distribution in the body… reducing the chances of heart disease… losing extra pounds… exercise has many benefits. But cardiovascular exercise goes way beyond reducing blood pressure and cholesterol.  Current research shows that exercise can alter the very structure of the nerve cells in the brain. You could read the evidence in (fairly dull) scientific papers, of which over 1000 have been produced in the last 12 months.

There are many people like me who recognise the impact that cardiovascular exercise has had on their career and every aspect of their life. It may surprise you that there is a growing cohort of business people and entrepreneurs who credit exercise not as just a component of their successful lives, but as the biological catalyst in all of their achievements.

In very basic terms, our brains function due to groups of chemicals ‘jumping’ between the neurons (nerves) within.  My research indicates that BDNF – Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor – is one of the most significant of these chemicals. BDNF is a protein that is controlled by the BDNF gene in our DNA.  BDNF acts on brain cells by encouraging the growth and differentiation (dividing and deciding what they want to be) of new neurons and synapses.  The neurons start growing new connections on their branch- like ends (called dendrites). The more dendrites that grow, the more connections are made.  The more connections you have in your brain, the greater your capacity to think: using another plant analogy, BDNF is a ‘miracle grow’ for your brain cells.

It works in the areas of the brain vital to learning, memory, and higher thinking.  BDNF itself is important for long-term memory.  Which is why it makes you smarter. So, exercise increases BDNF – great!  But… when you are stressed, you release the hormone corticosterone.  This has been shown to decrease the amount of BDNF!

In other words, being stressed makes you less smart and less able to make good decisions.If your exposure to stress is persistent, this can cause an area of the brain called the hippocampus to actively shrink.  This has been shown to take place in humans suffering from chronic depression. The secret of creating change within the brain that can boost your intelligence, memory and decision making qualities (as well as relieving depression) is

The optimal amount seems to be 30 minutes of aerobic activity a day.  Running, swimming, active walking – they’re all good as long as you do them regularly. I’m always interested in finding new ways to learn better and faster. I am a busy and driven individual.  I try to read one book every day on top of a full time business career.  The amount of time I have available to spend learning new things is limited.  It’s important to get as much educational value out of my time as possible, so retention, recall and transfer are critical.

I need to be able to accurately remember the information I learn, recall it at a later time and utilise it effectively in a wide variety of situations. One sure-fire way to become a more effective learner is to learn new things and keep practicing them. The Science backs this up.  A 2004 article in the journal Nature[1] reported that people who learned how to juggle increased the amount of grey matter in their occipital lobes, the area of the brain associated with visual memory.When these individuals stopped practicing their new skill, this grey matter vanished.

So if you’re learning a new language, it is important to keep practicing the language in order to maintain the gains you have achieved. This ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ phenomenon involves a brain process known as pruning. Certain pathways in the brain are maintained, whilst others are eliminated.  If you want the new information you have just learned to stay put, keep practicing and rehearsing it.

One of the key secrets of memory is how brain cells connect without actually touching.  The gaps are called synapses – remember those chemicals that ‘jump’ across the gaps?  Circuits are formed that retain memory, but they disappear if they are not used over and over again.

So go juggle right now!

[1] Draganski, B., Gaser, C., Busch, V., & Schuierer, G. (2004). Neuroplasticity: Changes in grey matter induced by training. Nature, 427(22), 311-312.


Can you train to become a Virtual Tutor?

could you do with some additional income!

Because your skills and experience are worth it

Because your skills and experience are worth it

Teaching and Learning has changed!  
Employment has Changed!
The World has Changed!
Could you manage up to 20 virtual students each month
and help them qualify from your PC
iPad or Tablet?
Using the latest interactive
Learning Management System
we have over 260 specialist on-line
and classroom fast track workshops
all accredited to Global Standards
You may be a professional, or retired
a graduate, personal coach, a consultant
or a teacher wanting to work from anywhere.
  • You make the investment and
  • We will Train you,
  • Register you,
  • and even Pay you when we
  • send students to you throughout the year

This two day workshop will enable you to follow procedure, e-monitor, e-mentor and e-access your students progress and help them to complete their online course using a cutting edge Learning Management System. Statistics have shown that institutions of higher learning increasingly embrace online education, with 65.5 percent of chief academic officers now calling online education ‘critical’ to their institutions! long-term strategy, an opinion that’s risen more than 15% over eight years.

After you qualify you will be able to work with our students online as a one of our Virtual Tutor Facilitators using your Global Accredited certificate by the IAO.


Turning 50 isn’t the end of a business career – new wave of olderpreneurs

Get qualified in days not years

Get qualified in days not years

article by Diane Shawe M.Ed

Turning 50 isn’t the end of a business career – it’s the beginning. And an ever-growing wave of ‘olderpreneurs’, starting a business have 70% chance of surviving their first five years compared with only a 28% survival rate for those younger than them.

Nearly half the self-employment population is over 50, and one in six new businesses started in the UK are set up by post-half-centurions.

So what’s fuelling the entrepreneurial impetus of the ‘silver startup’, and why are they doing so well?


The over-50s age group has been particularly hard-hit by the recession. Last year, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed 28% of those aged between 50 and state pension age were out of work – compared with only 20% of those aged under 50.

Why? One of the biggest factors is the rife ageism that permeates practically every industry in the UK, that anyone over 50 who’s been forced to look for employment will testify to with a weary nod. The ONS estimates those who lose their job aged 50 or over have only a 10% chance of being re-employed.

Deciding to use their money from redundancies to fund ta company, over the course of two years the payout had trickled in its entirety into the business. But it was worth the investment – and they often don’t have to rely on the ineffective banks at the moment.

Become a Virtual Teacher Facilitator

Become a Virtual Teacher Facilitator

New challenge

At a fundamental level, sometimes people just want to do something different in their later years.

It’s interesting that recent YouGov and Standard Life research found the average age at which people feel totally confident in their working skills is 37, while the more elusive sense of fulfilment peaks at 50. Perhaps this climax of achievement and sense of ability leads to a need for a new direction, a new challenge, once a person passes the half-century mark.

If  we take a look at the Government statistics below it will give us an overview  Source Office of National Statistics

Summary of labour market statistics published on 23 January 2013

Between June to August 2012 and September to November 2012:

  • the number of people in full-time employment increased by 113,000,
  • the number of people in part-time employment fell by 23,000,
  • the number of unemployed people fell by 37,000, and
  • the number of economically inactive people, aged from 16 to 64, fell by 13,000.

Between September to November 2007 and September to November 2012:

  • the number of people in full-time employment fell by 341,000,
  • the number of people in part-time employment increased by 660,000,
  • the number of unemployed people increased by 854,000, and
  • the number of economically inactive people, aged from 16 to 64, fell by 75,000.

Chart 1: Changes in number of people in the labour market between September to November 2007 and September to November 2012, seasonally adjusted

Changes over 5 years

Source: Labour Force Survey – Office for National Statistics

The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for September to November 2012 was 71.4%. This was up 0.1 percentage point on June to August 2012 and up 1.1 on a year earlier, but it was lower than the pre-recession peak of 73.0% recorded for March to May 2008. The number of people in full-time employment aged 16 and over increased by 113,000 between June to August and September to November 2012 to reach 21.57 million but the number of people in part-time employment fell by 23,000 to reach 8.11 million. Compared with a year earlier:

  • the number of men in full-time employment increased by 237,000,
  • the number of men in part-time employment increased by 95,000,
  • the number of women in full-time employment increased by 77,000,
  • the number of women in part-time employment increased by 144,000, and
  • the total number of people in employment increased by 552,000, the largest annual increase since 1989.

Chart 2: Changes in number of people in employment between September to November 2011 and September to November 2012, seasonally adjusted

Annual employment changes

Source: Labour Force Survey – Office for National Statistics

The unemployment rate for September to November 2012 was 7.7% of the economically active population, down 0.1 on June to August 2012 and down 0.7 on a year earlier. The number of unemployed men aged 16 and over fell by 37,000 between June to August and September to November 2012 to reach 1.41 million, but the number of unemployed women was unchanged at 1.08 million. The number of women unemployed for up to six months increased by 26,000 to reach 571,000. This may reflect changes to the benefits system resulting in more single mothers starting to look for work (see Claimant Count section of this Bulletin for further details).

The economic inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for September to November 2012 was 22.5%, unchanged on June to August 2012 but down 0.7 on a year earlier. The number of economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64 fell by 13,000 between June to August and September to November 2012 to reach 9.03 million.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell by 12,100 between November and December 2012 to reach 1.56 million.

Between July to September 2012 and October to December 2012, the number of vacancies increased by 10,000 to reach 494,000. This is the highest number of vacancies since October to December 2008, but it is 200,000 lower than the pre-recession peak of 694,000 recorded for January to March 2008.

Between September to November 2011 and September to November 2012, total pay for employees in Great Britain rose by 1.5%. This annual growth rate for earnings was lower than the increase of 2.7% in the Consumer Prices Index between November 2011 and November 2012.
Source Office of National Statistics

Breaking News….. Standby for the roll out of Master Practitioner VTF

master vtf by AVPT Global

AVPT Global about to launch Master VTF practitioner Course

The ultimate course that over an intense and amazing week will develop all the skills necessary to work around the world training new Virtual Tutor Facilitator in their new career. Course topics include: Advanced Facilitation, Body Language, Teaching & Learning Skills, Mediation, Communication, Presentation Excellence and Assessment and online LMS systems.

It is brand new and uses all the latest techniques, theory and experience to deliver simply the best training course (train the trainer) out there. Graduates will get to spend a full day shadowing the professionals and learning the insight track for delivering excellence in learning.

The course will allow the trainers to deliver the workshops anywhere in the world having gained their IAO  global accredited certificate. The demand for such a course has been intense and we are delight to be taking enquiries and reservations for the first course dates. Become the best in the field, be the person you want to be and never except anything less than excellence.

To receive the latest updates for the launch of the  Master Practitioner VTF Course click here