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Seminar Facilitators:

Corrine McCormick-Brighton and Virginia Harwood

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1. Briefing of Kolbs Experiential Learning Theory (ELT)

(including the Learning Cycle and Learning Style Modes)

2. Learning Style Inventory check-in
3. The Theory in Action
4. Synthesis, Discussion and Q & A
5. Resources

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Reprinted with the permission of LaughingStock International Inc., provided by

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Six Characteristics of
Experiential Learning Theory
grounded in

resolution of conflicts
between dialectically
opposed modes of


transaction of
and the

knowledge created
by transaction
between social
knowledge and
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Talking Is Not Teaching

Learning is Not Listening

Pmw888 (December, 29, 2011). Anyone, anyone teacher from Ferris Buellers day off [Video file].
Retrieved from
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Experiential Learning
Kolb (1984) states Learning is the process
whereby knowledge is created through the
transformation of experience. Knowledge
results from the combination of grasping
experience and transforming it(p. 41).
Through the Cycle of Learning from Experience.
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Kolbs Four-Stage
Cycle of Learning from Experience

Retrieved from

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Summary of the
Four Stages in the Learning Cycle
Concrete Experience (CE): learning from feeling and

personal involvement
Reflective Observation (RO): learning by watching and

Abstract Conceptualization (AC): learning by thinking
Active Experimentation (AE): learning by doing
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Kolbs Learning Styles

David Kolb (1984) found that the four combinations of perceiving and

processing from the learning cycle modes provide four learning styles

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Kolbs Learning Styles matrix view retrieved from

FOUR Learning Styles Mapped to

FOUR Stage Learning Cycle
Style 1: the Diverger
Concrete Experience + Reflective Observation

Style 2: the Assimilator

Abstract Conceptualization+ Reflective Observation

Style 3: the Converger

Abstract Conceptualization+ Active Experimentation

Style 4: the Accommodator

Concrete Experience + Active Experimentation
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theory and
styles model


(feel and do)
CE/AE Style 4




(feel and watch)

CE/RO Style 1

how we
think about


how we

do things



(think and do)

AC/AE Style 3

(think and watch)

AC/RO Style 2


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Retrieved from

Style 1: the Diverger - CE/RO

(feeling and watching)
Why should I learn this?
What do I already know about this?
How will I use this?
Why does this matter?


Who will it affect?



Convince me to learn!

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Style 2: the Assimilator AC/RO

(thinking and watching)
What do you want me to know?
What is the information?
What are the steps in the process?
What is the correct answer?
Gimme the goods!


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Style 3: the Converger AC/AE

(thinking and doing)
How do I do this?
Have you tested this out?
What happens if I do this?
Can I try it?

Lemme get my hands

on it!




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Style 4: the Accommodator CE/AE

(doing and feeling)
What is everyones feeling on this?
How might this relate to that?
How will this work in the big picture?
What information do others have?

Now lets explore

this together


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Learning Style Inventory (LSI)

Please participate in our LSI poll

On the whiteboard jot down a word or two about an

advantage of participating in a LSI

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Learning Style Inventory

Match the following learning activities to the Kolb Learning Styles that would
probably prefer them. More than one style can be listed for each activity.

Style 1: the Diverger

Style 2: the Assimilator

Style 3: the Converger

Style 4: the Accommodator

Style #

Learning Activity
listening to a lecture
playing a game
experimenting with different approaches to a problem
reading a book
filling in a crossword puzzle
applying new knowledge to a real world case
going on a field trip where students try out real machinery
discussing the relevance of the next learning unit
watching a video
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Welcome to our
Experiential Learning Theory
to detail critical considerations when planning
a successful celebration.

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CE/RO The Diverger

~ Convince me to learn what is it?~
Your tasks:
1. Using the Adobe whiteboard post one type of

celebration/party you have hosted or attended.

2. Self-select one of the three breakout rooms and with
your group reflect on your celebration experience and
what made it memorable (positive or negative) and
record in a note pod.
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The CE/RO - Diverger Discussion

Can we use digital technology to support the CE/RO portion
of the learning cycle and the diverger learner-style type?
If so, what types of digital technology could be used to
Place your responses under the diverger heading in the

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AC/RO The Assimilator

~ Gimme the goods what does it mean~?
Your task:
In your group complete a web-based search for party
planning tips and ideas.
Record your group findings in a digital technology of your
choice. Be prepared to share your group findings with the

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The AC/RO - Assimilator Discussion

Can we use digital technology to support the AC/RO portion
of the learning cycle and the assimilator learner-style type?
If so, what types of digital technology could be used to
Place your responses under the assimilator heading in the

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AC/AE The Converger

~Lemme get my hands on it what can I do?~
Your task:
In your group, create one digital mind map/concept map of the key
considerations when planning a celebration.
You may use any type of concept mapping tool; such as:
Be prepared to share your group map with the class.
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The AC/AE - Converger Discussion

Can we use digital technology to support the AC/AE portion
of the learning cycle and the converger learner-style type?
If so, what types of digital technology could be used to
Place your responses under the converger heading in the

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CE/AE The Accommodator

~Now lets explore this together - How can I do it?~
Your task:
Either with your group or individually consolidate your critical
party planning considerations using a digital technology of your
choice for sharing.
May we suggest:
Pinterest board
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The Accommodator Discussion

Can we use digital technology to support the CE/AE portion
of the learning cycle and the accommodator learner-style
If so, what types of digital technology could be used to
Place your responses under the accommodator heading in
the Padlet
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Discussion of the experience

Kolb (1984) indicates learning is a process whereby

knowledge is created through the transformation of

Did the activities take you through the cycle process of

Personal involvement with an experience
Reflect on the experience from different view points
Develop different ideas about the topic
Conclude about the topic
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Layer on digital technology to the

learning cycle and learning styles
Lets visit the Padlet to review.
Based upon todays experience lets discuss Kolbs

experiential learning theory, comprised of the learning

cycle modes and learning styles, can the theory be
supported through the implementation of digital
technology in the learning environment.

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Experiential Learning Theory
Two level four-stage cycle (cycle and learning styles)
Learner touches all the pieces of the cycle to experience:
The process enables the creation of new experiences

based upon existing experiences

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For your consideration and discussion:

1. Is this cycle of learning, or a portion of it, being used in
your organization? If so, tell us how. If not, would there
be benefit or not? Why? How might it be used?
2. This theory was developed in 1984. Is this theory
sustainable with ease or modification for 21st Century
learning? Discuss.
3. Can we apply this theory to any or all learning
situations? Formal, informal, adult, children.if so, are
there limitations, concerns?
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ELT supporters
Continues to exercise considerable influence in many disciplines: education,

nursing, business, engineering, and many more discovered during our research.
Kayes (2002) notes Researchers and practitioners alike enlist experiential learning

for explanatory strength and practical significance (p. 147).

Kelly (1997) summarises

"Nonetheless, Kolb's contributions cannot be underestimated. Whatever their

limitations, by presenting a model of experience in a scientific form, he has helped
move educational thought from the locus of the instructor back to the learner. As
many of the major contributors to the field have pointed out, experience has once
again become a viable topic of discussion (Brookfield, 1990; Cross, 1981; Jarvis,
1995; Kemp, 1996; Knowles, 1990, McKeachie, 1994, Peters, 1991) (p.4).
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ELT - critiques
Critiques of ELT from many perspectives
Broad-based critiques that challenge ELT for

emphasis on individual experience at the expense of

social, political, and cultural aspects of learning
Kayes (2002) p. 142.
Visit our Experiential Learning Wiki for a summary of

ELT resources:

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Summary of Critiques
by Kayes (2002)

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Kayes, D.C. (2002) p. 142

The last word is yours!

On the whiteboard write a short sentence to summarize

your key take-aways from the experiential learning theory

as proposed by Kolb.

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Thank you!
I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand.
Retrieved from

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Kayes, D. C. (2002). Experiential learning and its critics:
Preserving the role of experience in management
learning and education. Academy of Management
Learning and Education, 1, 2, 137-149. Retrieved from
Kelly, C. (1997). David Kolb, The theory of experiential and
esl. The Internet TESL Journal. Vol III, No. 9.
Retrieved from
Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the
source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs,
NJ: Prentice-Hall.

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Kolb, D. A. (1985). LSI Learning-Style Inventory. Boston, MA:
McBer & Company.
Kolb, D. A. (1985). LSI Learning-Style Inventory. Retrieved
Kolb, A. & Kolb, D. (n.d.). What is experiential learning. A
series of 11 chapters. [Video file]. Retrieved from
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Kolbs Four-Stage Cycle of Learning from Experience Diagram.
Retrieved from
Kolbs Experiential Learning Theory and Learning Styles
Model Diagram. Retrieved from
Kolbs Learning Styles matrix view. Retrieved from

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Pmw888 (December, 29, 2011). Anyone, anyone teacher from
Ferris Buellers day off [Video file]. Retrieved from
Richmond, A. S., & Cummings, R. (2005). Implementing Kolbs
learning styles into online distance education.
International Journal of Technology in Teaching and
Learning, 1(1), 45-54. Retrieved from

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