More news from people who’ve been trying out accelerated learning

As I said the day before yesterday, Louis and Susanna and I have all done a 10-sessions-in-a-day blast (with Spanish and Dutch) and found it very powerful.

But since I’ve started muttering about this, a number of other people have also had a go at doing multiple sessions in a day, and the results so far are consistently interesting.

Jen (Atomic Newt on the forum) was over on Bootcamp in Sarn Mellteyrn back in April this year, when I was cheerfully encouraging everyone to give the ‘full day’ treatment a go – handily enough, she’d developed a bit of a block about Course 3, and since at that point we had 18 sessions available in Course 3, I thought it would be a fantastic idea for her to try and get through all 18 in the space of two days.  After all, it wasn’t as though it would be hard work – well, not for me, anyway…;-)

Jen didn’t have the time to do two days – so I told her to cancel doing something she really enjoyed so that she could make the time, and to my amazement, that’s exactly what she did! There’s nothing more inspiring than that kind of passion for the language.

And she got the whole way through all 18 sessions – over the course of 48 hours, spread over two days.  That’s the most intense learning session I’ve heard of so far, and apart from being exhausted, she clearly enjoyed it – she said ‘I’m not sure if I’ll remember what I’ve learnt, but round about lesson 18 yesterday morning it felt as though the Welsh was just coming out quickly without any problem, which was really cool!’  She also said that it had definitely got rid of her block.

I hope she’ll read this and comment to let us know how she feels about it a couple of months down the road – how much she’s remembered will depend on what pattern of revisiting the later lessons she’s gone with, but I’m sure it will have made a massive difference for her.


Geraint (Gruntius on the forum) was also unlucky enough to be stuck on the Sarn Mellteyrn group, and he was also send home under strict instructions to do some massive immersion work.

He leapt at the challenge, and galloped through the rest of Course 3 – I think the most he did in one go was 5 sessions, but he clearly found it a positive and valuable experience.  Here’s what he said on the forum:

Last 10 weren’t really done that quick, over 3 sessions I think, but the last 5 were done in one session with a rest in between to read the relevant thread for the lesson. No revision yet but I will go over the entire course 3 again. The material has stuck but I get confused and need to think a bit more when using it, practice will rectify that. No seizures or frothing but plenty of laughing throughout and extreme excitement when I finished.


Ros (toulouse2 on the forum) has also just done a five session mini-marathon.  Like most people who try something as intense as this for the first time (I suspect), she was a bit worried about how much was sticking (I felt exactly the same way with the Dutch!):

I got through lessons 14,15 and 16 okay; but hit real problems with lesson 17 – trying to remember the new vocab, get the tense right and take on new ideas, my ‘hit rate’ for speaking before Cat got less and less; and by lesson 18 there was a lot of ‘wait, wait! ermmm…’ Luckily, no one around to laugh at me – my eldest drifted in at some point during lesson 15 and said ‘gosh mum, you’re getting really good!’

But it’s clear that by the end, she also had found it an exciting and inspiring process:

It’s great to have been so immersed – I think that if i truly get to grips with those last lessons, I will do this again next week. It’s exciting moving forwards so rapidly and it would be great to finish course 2 and the vocab units before sept bootcamp.

DavidHT also said he was going to give it a go, but we haven’t heard back from him, so he may be drinking coffee and massaging his temples somewhere while he tries to recover…;-)


It seems clear to me that there is huge potential to this kind of approach, particularly for early stage learners (who will always see the most dramatic results).

I think it’s vitally important to have a plan to revisit what you do in an intense day/two days, though – I think you should have a day off, and then listen to the last two sessions you did, then have two days off, and then listen to the last session and (perhaps) the third from last, then leave it a week and do the last two sessions again, then leave it a fortnight and do just the last session, and then leave it a month and do the last session once more – and that should see you pretty firmly locked in.

Of course, that’s just a broad suggestion – but one thing I found particularly interesting about doing more or less that pattern with the Dutch was that it took a lot of discipline NOT to listen to ‘just one extra session’, and NOT to revisit more frequently.

Which rather makes me suspect that one of the things too many of us do is over-study, instead of trusting the process.  I know that the vast majority of the Dutch I learnt is still in there, ready to be accessed pretty quickly – but when I revisit Session 10 before going over to see Louis in Holland this August, I’ll be as good as (or even significantly better) I was a week after doing the intense session.

If you have any questions, please fire away in the comments section – and if you’re willing to try doing an intense day with any of our sets of lessons, please go for it and let me know how it works out!  I’d be particularly pleased to share guest blogs from survivors, and a video of your thoughts on the process would make it feel like Christmas…;-)

4 responses to “More news from people who’ve been trying out accelerated learning

  1. I suspect you won’t have a really good measure of how it works, and particularly how it works with Welsh (a language that’s a lot more distant from English than are Dutch or Spanish), until you try it on someone who has never ever done any SSIW course at all before. Can you find someone to dragoon?

    • We’ll be doing that when enough sessions of the new course are ready, because they’re a much better fit for this kind of learning than the original course. Hope to be ready in a couple of months.

  2. I did the Tourist Dutch over 3 days last Easter, then didn’t touch it again until about a fortnight ago. I just zoomed through each lesson once and things that I had found difficult to remember the first time through just seemed easy really easy now – like I had somehow improved in the meantime even though I wasn’t practising. That’s an interesting feeling!

    • That’s fascinating, Dee, thanks for sharing. It sounds very similar indeed to how I felt about the Dutch – in fact, it even suggests that even my minimalist pattern of revisiting the material was overdone, which is an extremely intriguing thought…

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