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Citation: Kolb, Alice Y., and David A. Kolb.

“Learning Styles and Learning Spaces: Enhancing Experiential Learning in Higher

Education.” Academy of Management Learning & Education 4, no. 2 (June 1, 2005): 193-212.



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(1) How can experiential learning theory be used to enhance online education? What is experiential
learning theory?

(2) Experiential Learning Theory (ELT) is composed of 6 principles: #highered #edtech

1. Learning is best conceived as a process, not in

terms of outcomes..a process that includes feedback on the effectiveness of their learning

2. All learning is relearning.

3. Conflict, differences, and disagreement are what drive the learning process.

4. Learning is a holistic process of adaptation to

the world, not just the result of cognition.

5. Learning conists of assimilating new experiences into existing concepts and accomodating
existing concepts to new experience.

6. Learning is the process of creating knowledge ELT proposes a constructivist theory of

learning whereby social knowledge is created and re-created in the personal knowledge of the

(3) ELT in a nutshell: Knowledge results from the combination of grasping and transforming

(4) Experiential Learning Theory has 4 modes as it relates to "grasping" and

"transforming" #highered #edtech

Grasping: Concrete Experience (CE) and Abstract Conceptualization (AC)

Transforming: Reflective Observation (RO) and Active Experimentation (AE)

(5) Optimal learning touches all 4 bases: experiencing, reflecting, thinking, and acting

(6) This illustration exhibits how optimal learning integrates various corners of the

(7) Based on many factors that include hereditary equipment, our particular life experiences, and the
demands of our present environment, we develop a preferred way of choosing among the four learning
modes. experiencing, reflecting, thinking, and acting
(8) Think about ELT in relation to 3 stages of human development. #highered #edtech

1. acquisition, from birth to adolescence, where basic abilities and cognitive structures develop

2. specialization, from formal schooling through the early work and personal experiences of
adulthood,where social, educational, and organizational socialization forces shape the
development of a particular, specialized learning style

3. integration in midcareer and later life, where non-dominant modes of learning are expressed
in work
and personal life.

(9) Of course, as you get older and go through these 3 stages, your development is characterized by
increasing complexity and relativism in adapting to the world and by increased integration of these 4
modes of learning:

4 modes = (Concrete Experience [CE], Abstract Conceptualization [AC], Reflective Observation [RO]
and Active Experimentation [AE])


CE = development of this increases affective complexity

RO = development of this increases perceptual complexity
AC = development of this increases symbolic complexity
AE = development of this increases behavioral complexity

(10) According to the Learning Styles Inventory, there are four learning styles: diverging, assimilating,
converging, accommodating.

(11) "Diverging style" of learning = being good at viewing concrete situations from many different
points of view.

(12) More info on the "diverging" learning style:

A person with it performs better in situations that call for generation of ideas, such as a “brainstorming”
session. People with a diverging learning style have broad cultural interests and like to gather

They are interested in people, tend to be imaginative and emotional, have broad cultural interests,
and tend to specialize in the arts. In formal learning situations, people with the diverging style prefer to
work in groups, to listen with an open mind, and to receive personalized feedback.

(13) People with the "assimilation" learning style are best at understanding a wide range of information
and putting it into concise, logical form.

More on this style:

Individuals with an assimilating style are less focused on people and more interested in ideas and
abstract concepts. People with this style find it more important that a theory have logical soundness
than practical value. The assimilating learning style is important for effectiveness in information and
science careers. In formal learning situations, people with this style prefer readings, lectures, exploring
analytical models, and having time to think things through.

(14) People with the "converging" learning style are best at finding practical uses for ideas and theories.
They have the ability to solve problems and make decisions based on finding solutions to questions or

More info:

Individuals with a converging learning style prefer to deal with technical tasks and problems rather
than with social and interpersonal issues. These learning skills are important for effectiveness in
specialist and technology careers. In formal learning situations, people with this style prefer to
experiment with new ideas, simulations, laboratory assignments, and practical applications.

(15) People with the "accomodating" learning style have the ability to learn from primarily “hands-on”
experience. They enjoy carrying out plans and involving themselves in new and challenging

More info:

Their tendency may be to act on “gut” feelings rather than on logical analysis. In solving problems,
individuals with an accommodating learning style rely more heavily on people for information than on
their own technical analysis. This learning style is important for effectiveness in action-oriented careers
such as marketing or sales. In formal learning situations, people with the accommodating learning style
prefer to work with others to get assignments done, to set goals, to do field work, and to test out
different approaches to completing a project.


(16) this illustration maps out different learning styles. where are u?

(17) It is not genetics or fixed characteristics that determine a change in learning style... #highered

Patterns of human individuality arise from transactions between individual and environment. I.e. the
range of choices made available.

Direct quote here (p. 199):

"The stability and endurance of these states in individuals comes not solely from fixed ge-
netic qualities or characteristics of human beings: nor, for that matter, does it come from
the stable fixed demands of environmental circumstances. Rather, stable and enduring
patterns of human individuality arise from consistent patterns of transaction between the
individual and his or her environment"

(18) Learning style is dependent on environment; so this sets up the following discussion about
learning spaces. #highered #edchat
(19) Kurt Lewin calls it something bigger than a learning space: #highered #edchat

“the life space is the total psychological environment which the person experiences subjec-
tively” (1969:35)

(20) Life spaces can vary in a number of dimensions: #highered#edchat including extension,
differentiation, (cont)

(21) Bronfrenbrenner defines the ecology of learning/development spaces: #highered #edchat

Each structure is contained within the next:

Microsystem: The learner’s immediate setting, such as a course

or classroom, is called the

Mesosystem: concurrent settings in the person’s life such as other courses, the dorm, or family
are referred to as the

Exosystem: encompasses the formal and informal social structures that influence the person’s
immediate environment, such as institutional policies and procedures and campus culture.

Macrosystem: refers to the overarching institutional patterns and values of the wider culture,
such as the cultural values favoring abstract knowledge over practical knowledge, that influence
actors in the person’s immediate microsystem and mesosystem.

(22) Vygotsky's situated learning theory: learning as a transaction between the person and the social
environment. #highered #edchat

Direct quote (p. 200):

"learning spaces are not necessarily physical places but constructs of the person’s experience in the
social environment. These situations are embedded in communities of practice that have a
history,norms, tools, and traditions of practice. Knowledge resides not in the individual’s head but in
communities of practice. Learning is thus a process of becoming a member of a community of practice
through legitimate peripheral participation (e.g., apprenticeship).

Situated learning theory enriches the learning space concept by reminding us that learning spaces
extend beyond the teacher and the classroom. They include socialization into a wider community of
practice that involves membership, identity formation, transitioning from novice to expert through
mentorship, and experience in the activities of the practice, as well as the reproduction and
development of the community of practice itself as newcomers replace old-timers."

(23) A Japanese concept of knowledge creation known as "ba" #highered #edchat

Ba is the “context that harbors meaning”

Knowledge embedded in ba is tacit and can only be made explicit through sharing of feelings,
thoughts, and experiences of persons in the space. For this to happen the ba space requires that
individuals remove barriers between one another in a climate that emphasizes “care, love, trust, and
commitment.” Learning spaces similarly require norms of psychological safety, serious purpose, and
respect to promote learning.

(24) Kurt Lewin on tension between internal vs. external world: #highered #edchat "A teacher will
never succeed in giving proper guidance to a child if he does not learn to understand the psychological
world in which that child

(25) Stay tuned. This research analyzes three learning environments: #highered #edchat

-Case Weatherhead School of Management MBA program

-Cleveland Institute of Art undergraduate program

-Case Western Reserve University undergraduate program.