Suggestopedia has undergone a variety of changes over the two decades of its existence. Some changes, mainly those to the concert session, were made by Lozanov himself, others were made by exponents adapting the method for their own environment. The latest version of the suggestopedic cycle includes a preparation session, decoding of the materials to be learnt, an active and a passive concert session in which materials are read with the backing of entire classical or baroque pieces respectively, and extensive review and elaboration sessions.
In Eastern Europe the method differs the least fom this model and it is still referred to as Suggestopedia. Researchers in the German Democratic Republic, however, have reduced the two concert sessions to one and made changes to Lozanov's music selection. Music from the baroque period which is still predominant in Lozanov's selection is no longer used in the GDR as a result of research which showed more favourable student responses for the Vienna classical period.
The two major versions of Suggestopedia in the West are Superlearning and SALT, both originating in North America. Another version developed by a linguist in West Germany is called Psychopädie. The originators of these versions have also made changes to Lozanov's Suggestopedia. The chief contribution of Superlearning is the inclusion of synchronisation of breathing and presentation of words during the passive concert session. The limited research does not consistently show this element to have a positive effect on the retention of materials. However, the literature suggests consistently that this element may be cumbersome for the students to handle which is reflected in the fact that synchronisation has been dropped by most practitioners. Superlearning also advocated self-study courses produced on audio-tapes, a system which was adopted by commercial enterprises around the world. Although good examples of such courses exist, vital elements such as the teacher's presence, group dynamics and the communicative interaction between students cannot be included in such courses.
The most important contribution of SALT is the inclusion of mind-calming during the presentation phase. Although research, here too, is not extensive, the literature shows a positive trend towards improved learning and improved behaviour as well as other positive psychological effects being associated with mind-calming. This may therefore well be a positive addition to Suggestopedia which is reflected in the fact that most Western practitioners have adopted mind-calming in their programme.
The contribution of Psychopädie to Suggestopedia is the insertion of a reproductive phase before the concert sessions. The rationale for this was to break up the long passive states in which suggestopedic students in intensive courses find themselves. Although there is no empirical evidence as yet which supports the efficacy of such a phase, it may well be attractive to students and teachers alike to have a more balanced programme in terms of students' arousal level. Some practitioners already use this phase in their programme, most notably the GDR researchers.
Although there are distinct differences between the four versions of Accelerative Learning discussed in this chapter, caution must be exercised when interpreting research results if the treatment is not described in detail. Labels are sometimes used interchangeably, and elements generally associated with a particular version may no longer be used. This has led to some confusion about the exact content of an Accelerative Learning course. However, all four versions consistently use the same three elements. These are music, relaxation and suggestion. While in the West special attention is given to relaxation in the form of progressive relaxation or mind-calming either during the preparation phase or before the concert session, practitioners in the East no longer practice relaxation explicitly. According to Lozanov (1978), however, relaxation is still produced through other suggestive means, such as music, teacher behaviour and classroom atmosphere.
Since music, relaxation and suggestion are also used in most other adaptations of Suggestopedia not discussed here, we can assume that these elements are generally seen as the most important in the approach. The presumed effects of these elements will therefore be discussed in detail in the next chapter.