Kolb’s learning style
Kolb’s learning theory has revealed four distinct learning styles , which are based on a four-stage learning cycle./ training cycle . Kolb’s model is elegant, since it offers both a way to understand individual people’s different learning styles, and also an explanation of a cycle of experiential learning that applies to us all.
Kolb includes this ‘cycle of learning‘ as a central principle his experiential learning theory, typically expressed as four-stage cycle of learning, in which ‘immediate or concrete experiences’ provide a basis for ‘observations and reflections’. These ‘observations and reflections’ are represented in ‘abstract concepts’ that produce new implications for action which can be ‘actively tested’ in turn creating new experiences.
Kolb says that ideally this process represents a learning cycle where the learner ‘touches all the bases’, ie., a cycle of experiencing, reflecting, thinking, and acting. Immediate or concrete experiences lead to observations and reflections. These reflections are then assimilated (absorbed and translated) into abstract concepts with implications for action, which the person can actively test and experiment with, which in turn enable the creation of experiences.
Kolb’s model works on two levels – a four-stage cycle:
- Concrete Experience – (CE)
- Reflective Observation – (RO)
- Abstract Conceptualization – (AC)
- Active Experimentation – (AE)
and a four-type definition of learning style, which represents the combination of two preferred styles:
- Diverging (CE/RO)
- Assimilating (AC/RO)
- Converging (AC/AE)
- Accommodating (CE/AE)
Ideally, activities and material should be developed in ways that draw on abilities from each stage of the experiential learning cycle and take the students through the whole process in sequence.