Kolb Learning Cycle

mod2-kolbBased in a model of experiential learning, the following four stages of learning have been established by Kolb and Kolb (2005) [1].

  1. Concrete experience.  Feeling: experiencing or ‘doing’ the task.
  2. Reflective observation.  Watching: observation or reflection.
  3. Active conceptualization. Thinking: forming abstract concepts.
  4. Active experimentation. Doing: planning next action steps.

In any learning situation, we begin by deciding whether we want to do, watch, think or feel. It begins with having a conversation with your student about how she learns best. This learning cycle contributes to the four learning styles, also described by Kolb & Kolb (2005):

  1. Diverging. A person with this style prefers concrete experience (feeling) and reflective observation (watching), and would rather watch than do. They also prefer to work in groups.
  2. Assimilating. This person prefers reflective observation (watching) and active conceptualization (thinking). He also requires clear, concise explanations of things, is very logical, and prefers reading, lectures, and having time to work things through.
  3. Converging. This person prefers abstract conceptualization (thinking) and active experimentation (doing). She uses learning to find solutions, and prefers technical tasks over social/personal ones.
  4. Accommodating. This person prefers active experimentation (doing) and concrete experience (feeling). She tends to be hands-on, values intuition and enjoys new challenges and experiences.

To understand more about Kolb’s Learning Style Inventory please visit the website below:

[1] Kolb, A. Y., & Kolb, D. A. (2005). Learning Styles and Learning Spaces: Enhancing Experiential Learning in Higher Education. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 4(2), 193-212. doi:10.5465/AMLE.2005.17268566

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