NLP And Distance Learning:

Another Step Toward Entering the Knowledge Society

by Robert Dilts and Judith DeLozier

The best universities of the 21st century will bring together brainpower where it is, not where it can be institutionalized. The aim must be to create a republic of the intellect open to all, whose natural constituency will be those who keep themselves intellectually aware throughout their lives.
—Sir Douglas Hague, Beyond Universities: A New Republic of the Intellect, 1991

When we established NLP University in 1991 our vision was to create a new kind of structure for providing a complete NLP education, offering the deepest and broadest training in NLP possible. One of the inspirations for NLP University was the book Beyond Universities: A New Republic of the Intellect by Sir Douglas Hague (Institute of Economic Affairs, London, 1991). In this visionary and ground breaking paper, Hague predicted an new type of university that would emerge from the explosion and proliferation of the knowledge revolution. These universities would serve the needs of life long learners, rather than simply bestow degrees or certifications.

This points to an important trend for all “knowledge based industries,” including NLP institutes as well as academic universities. According to Hague, “The knowledge society requires people who can reach good decisions, cope with new environments and spot new rules—human and physical—as the world changes.” This has been a core part of the mission of NLP University along with NLP institutes around the world.

Hague maintained that the main activity of a university it to “provide three things: information, integration and interaction.”

Over the years, NLPU has amassed a comprehensive body of information in different media; including seminar manuals, audio recordings, books (such as the Encyclopedia of Systemic NLP) computer applications and video clips relating to all aspects of NLP training. Hague argues that, in order to be useful to students, such information needs to be integrated.

Books and articles in journals will continue to be important ways of disseminating academic knowledge, but now supplemented by large data bases from which computes will rapidly display on screens (and/or print out to take away) what the reader wishes to see. So will television programs, audio and video tapes and interactive computer systems which, having ascertained what students do not know, help them to learn it.

It will soon be possible for the good—even the best—lectures to be replaced by televised or video-taped presentations by world authorities. Lectures will increasingly become available in both formats and will be increasingly cheap. Moreover, animated diagrams and graphs—or clippings from films—will be included.
(pp. 57–58)

In Hague’s view, integration of information comes from the possibility to “link computers, television screens, video and audio tapes and large data bases.” He asserts that students will not only be able to “question and respond to the computer, but also to watch appropriate clips from films, listen to appropriate tapes and to read selected passages from the television screen.”

Similar to the perspective of NLP, Hague pointed out that interaction is the key to internalizing knowledge and skill (especially behavior-based skills such as NLP). It is through our physical participation, interacting with and applying integrated information, that we truly get knowledge “in the muscle.”

In line with—and even surpassing—Hague’s vision, developments in information science, such as interactive multimedia systems and the Internet, have been able to greatly facilitate the process of integrating, teaching, and applying the new skill set of the knowledge society (such as the skills provided by NLP). The Internet, for example, has opened the doorway to global networking and communication between NLP practitioners and students around the world.

In addition, interactive multimedia can be used to teach many NLP skills, lead people through NLP techniques, and “install” effective strategies. Multimedia involves the use of multiple forms of communication media (i.e., video, audio, text, graphics, computer simulations, etc.) to convey ideas and teach skills. Originally used as a specialized educational tool for certain topics, multimedia has become a viable technology for helping to develop sophisticated behavioral competence by presenting key knowledge and principles through a variety of media.

Multimedia Applies Multiple Representational Channels to Convey Ideas and Teach Skills

From the NLP perspective, the power of multimedia is that it can appeal to many different sensory representational systems. Interactive multimedia allows users to choose the media which most appeals to their learning style and move at their own rate of speed. It also helps people to develop familiarity and competence with other representational channels and learning modalities.

When combined with interactive video, multimedia can also teach important perceptual position shifts—through changes in camera angles and the type of interactivity—allowing learners to be in the perspective of observer, guide or explorer.

Of course, the process of interaction goes beyond that of simply interacting with different media. Hague, in fact, claims, “The key role of the university lies in interaction; the most important element is interaction with tutors and fellow students in seminars, tutorials and social activities.”

Hague’s comment speaks to the importance of having what is known as a “blended” approach to technology assisted learning. In this approach, some aspects of the learning process take place through interactions with technology and others through interactions with people. It is a blending of “on-line” and “on-site” activities and resources.

As Hague points out, when a significant portion of the key information for a course can be learned through effective integrative technologies, teachers and trainers “can then concentrate on running tutorials or advising students” rather than having to put their primary focus on providing information. His vision of the university of the future was that teachers and trainers would become more like educational consultants who will be able to leverage their expertise to larger and larger groups through the new developments in technologies.

True to Hague’s predictions above, there has been a growing interest and demand for NLP training through the convenience of distance learning. Distance learning methods allow students to:

NLPU has created a new distance learning package, incorporating the many advantages of multimedia and Internet technologies. With the technical support of Ryan DeLuz, we have harnessed the advantages of multimedia in our new Practitioner and Master Practitioner NLP training CDs. Each CD provides a series of readings, assessment activities, video demonstrations and a variety of interactive exercises organized into 30 days of materials (15 days for each training program) which comprehensively cover the core skills of NLP Practitioner and Master Practitioner training.

These CDs have been designed to cover a variety of skills necessary to achieve behavioral competency, including:

These key competencies are developed through a series of specially constructed interactive learning activities, such as:

These NLPU multimedia CDs form the basis of an innovative distance learning course, supported by an integrated information package including: manuals, audio recordings of past seminars, text books and other reference materials. In addition, each participant in the distance learning path will receive four hours of coaching and tutoring support, through interaction via telephone or Internet, with a member of the Dilts/NLPU on-line “educational consultant” team, led by Judith DeLozier and Suzi Smith.

Participants in the distance learning pathway are encouraged to behaviorally practice what they are learning in two ways: (1) with other students involved in the distance learning program, through the Internet, discussion forums, etc., and (2) by sharing and practicing what they are learning with friends and colleagues.

In the words of Sir Douglas Hague:

A world of choice is opening up and, given the possibility of choice, we must allow students to choose. To the role of tutor will be added that of an educational manager or ... ‘educational consultant’ helping each student to work out an appropriate well as giving him or her an opportunity for face-to-face discussion.

The distance learning path culminates in a 10-day “on-site” interactive integration session at NLP University in Santa Cruz (from August 16–26, 2004 this year). The emphasis of this session is on relational skills. In NLP, relational skill is defined as “the ability to recognize and select appropriate behavior in relation to role, norms, culture, context, etc.” Relational skill is necessary in order to adapt to complex social situations and to fully get NLP “in the muscle.”

As Hague pointed out, “a world of choice is opening up.” It is time for NLP as a “knowledge industry” to join that world and become a member of the knowledge society in the “republic of the intellect.” By providing an integrated package of information along with expert coaching, supervision and training, NLPU hopes to lead the way along with other NLP institutes in supporting many new students to “reach good decisions, cope with new environments and spot new rules—human and physical—as the world changes.” In short, we hope to support people around the world in successfully joining the knowledge revolution and “creating a world to which people want to belong.”