Kolb's Learning Cycle + Practical Example [Complete Guide] (2022)

In 1984, David Kolb published his model of learning styles, from which he created his inventory of learning styles. That is called “Kolb’s Learning Cycle”

In this article, You can read about,

  • History of Kolb’s Learning Cycle
  • Six Main Features of Kolb’s Learning Cycle
  • Stages of Kolb’s Learning Cycle
  • Practical examples for the Kolb’s Learning Cycle
  • Why Kolb’s learning cycle is important
  • Benefits Of Experiential Learning And Kolb’s Learning Styles
  • Criticism of Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory
  • Learn Kolb’s Cycle within 3 Minutes [Video Guide]

“Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience”

(Kolb, 1984, p. 38).
Kolb's Learning Cycle + Practical Example [Complete Guide] (1)

History of Kolb’s Learning Cycle

Kolb’s learning cycle is a well-known theory in the field of education. It was originally developed by American psychologist David Kolb in 1984.

Kolb believed that there are four different stages of learning: concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation.

He proposed that people learn best by going through all four stages in a cycle. Kolb presented his theory in the form of a diagram, which has since become known as the Kolb learning cycle.

There are four different Kolb learning styles, each corresponding to a different stage in the cycle. Concrete learners prefer to learn through direct experience and experimentation.

Reflective observers like to take time to reflect on their experiences and observe others before making decisions. Abstract conceptualizers like to understand concepts before applying them. Active experimenters like to try out new ideas and see what works best.

(Video) Kolb's Learning Cycle Explained with Example

Kolb’s learning cycle is a widely accepted theory of how people learn best. It provides a framework for educators to design effective learning experiences and helps students to understand their own learning preferences. The theory is still relevant today, more than 30 years after it was first proposed.

Six Main Features of Kolb’s Learning Cycle

  • Learning is better viewed as a process, not in terms of outcomes.
  • Learning is a continuous, experimentally based operation.
  • Education requires the resolution of conflicts between dialectically different modes of adaptation to the environment (education is full of tension by its very nature).
  • Learning is an integral part of world adaptation.
  • The research includes interpersonal and environmental transactions.
  • Learning is the process of information generation that results from a transaction between social information and personal knowledge.

Stages of Kolb’s Learning Cycle

1. Concrete Experience

The first stage of learning is known as Concrete Experience. This is the phase where learners are actively engaged in an experience and are able to reflect on what they are doing.

It is important for learners to be aware of their own learning preferences at this stage, as this will help them to make the most of the experience. For example, some learners may prefer to work alone, while others may prefer to work in groups.

Some learners may also prefer to learn through hands-on activities, while others may prefer to learn through observation and reflection. By being aware of their own learning inclination, learners can make the most of the Concrete Experience stage and ensure that they gain the maximum benefit from it.

2. Reflective Observation of the New Experience

Reflective Observation is the second stage of Kolb’s learning cycle. At this stage, the learner reflects on their concrete and reflective experiences in order to better understand them.

This understanding is then used to shape future behavior. Reflective Observation requires both a willingness to reflect on one’s own experiences and the ability to see those experiences from multiple perspectives.

It is only through Reflective Observation that we can truly learn from our mistakes and make meaningful progress in our lives.

It is an important step in the learning process because it allows learners to start making connections between their experiences and their existing knowledge. By reflecting on new experiences, they can learn from their mistakes and become better problem-solvers.

(Video) Kolb’s Cycle Experiential Learning

3. Abstract Conceptualization

The third stage of Kolb’s learning cycle is abstract conceptualization. This is the stage where learners start to understand the abstract concepts behind what they are observing.

They begin to see the connections between ideas, and they start to develop their own theories about how things work. This is an active stage, where learners are constantly testing their ideas and revising their understanding based on new information.

Abstract conceptualization is a crucial stage in the learning process, as it is when learners start to develop a deep understanding of the subject matter. Without this stage, learners would simply be repeating what they have observed without truly understanding it.

4. Active Experimentation

The learner applies his / her thoughts to the world around them to see what’s going on.

The capacity to apply learning in other activities is more important than collecting learning from the experience completed.

It would be easier if individuals in their respective offices could analogize the implementation of learning in everyday life or the case of work.

Kolb has defined four types of learning that correspond to those phases. The models underline situations where learners perform better. These types are:

  • Assimilators: Who learn better when putting out strong logical hypotheses
  • Convergent: who learn better when provided with realistic implementations of principles and hypotheses
  • Accommodators: What learns more when “hands-on” opportunities are given
  • Diverges: What learns more by observing and collecting a wide variety of knowledge
Kolb's Learning Cycle + Practical Example [Complete Guide] (3)

Practical Examples for the Kolb’s Learning Cycle:

Example 1. Guy come to the class late frequently and let’s see how he can get rid out of his bad habit:

  • Concrete experience – Coming to the class late
  • Reflective observation – Observing the reason for Coming to the class late.
  • Abstract conceptualization – Thinking and getting decisions about the good and adverse impact on himself because of arriving late to come to the class frequently
  • Active experimentation – Analyzing how he can go to class without getting late and doing practical ways of coming to the class without getting late.

Example 2. Learning to ride a bicycle:

  • Concrete experience — Learning to ride a bicycle
  • Reflective observation — Talking about riding and watching someone else ride a bike.
  • Abstract conceptualization -Grasp the definition and have a good understanding of the idea of biking.
  • Active experimentation -Hop on a bicycle and have a ride.

Example 3. Learning a new software program:

  • Concrete experience -Learning a new software program:
  • Reflective observation -Focusing on how to use the latest software.
  • Abstract conceptualization -Reading the manual to get a better picture of what was achieved.
  • Active experimentation – Jumping in and doing it as what conceptualization you abstract.

Why Kolb’s learning cycle is important

Kolb’s learning cycle is important because it offers a way to understand how people learn and remember new information. It also provides a framework for designing learning experiences that are more effective for different people.

(Video) M5 Kolb s Experiential Learning Cycle

The four stages of Kolb’s learning cycle are concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation. Most people tend to favor one stage over the others, but all four stages are necessary for effective learning.

For example, someone who prefers abstract conceptualization might struggle with tasks that require hands-on experience, while someone who prefers concrete experience might struggle with tasks that require a lot of reflection and contemplation.

Benefits Of Experiential Learning And Kolb’s Learning Styles

Experiential learning is a hands-on learning approach that encourages students to actively participate in their own learning. This type of learning can be particularly beneficial for students who have a preference for a converging learning style, as it allows them to apply what they have learned to solve real-world problems.

Technical tasks are often well suited to an experiential learning approach, as they lend themselves well to trial and error. However, it is important to note that all students can benefit from experiential learning, regardless of their learning style preferences.

Moreover, Kolb’s learning cycle provides a useful framework for structuring experiential learning activities. The learning cycle consists of four stages: concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation.

By following this cycle, students can ensure that they are getting the most out of their experiential learning experiences.

Criticism of Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory

One of the criticisms of Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory is that it focuses too much on the abstract and active stages of learning, and does not give enough attention to the other stages.

According to Kolb’s theory, learners acquire knowledge through a cycle of abstract conceptualization, followed by active experimentation.

However, critics argue that this only takes into account two of the four stages of learning (sensation and reflection). Furthermore, they argue that even within these two stages, there is a lack of balance between the abstract and the active.

(Video) The 3 minute Kolb

For example, in the abstract stage, learners are expected to rely heavily on their own internal thoughts and reflections.

This can lead to a lack of connection with the outside world and a lack of motivation to engage in further learning. In the active stage, on the other hand, learners are expected to take initiative and experiment with different ideas.

While this can be beneficial for some learners, it can also be overwhelming and lead to feelings of frustration. Ultimately, critics argue that Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory does not adequately take into account all stages of learning, and as a result, it is not an effective model for all learners.

Learn Kolb’s Cycle within 3 Minutes [Video Guide]

Hopefully, this blog article will provide you with tips, and some of the best information on “Kolb’s Learning Cycle”

Was that article helpful? Please share your experience with us using the comment section below. We are very happy to hear from you, and on our upcoming blogs, we will try to improve it.

So, What’s next? Let’s find out about “What is My Learning Style?”

FAQs

What is an example of Kolb's learning cycle? ›

Kolb's theory of experiential learning includes learning as a whole process. All stages can be included throughout the experiences. For example, a classic teacher-student lecture may be both a concrete and an abstract experience, based on how the learner interacts with it.

What is an example of concrete experience Kolb? ›

Kolb's theory defines experiential learning as a four-stage process: Concrete learning occurs when a learner has a new experience or interprets a previous experience in a new way. For example, a nursing student has to learn a new procedure as part of their clinical education.

How do you use the Kolb cycle? ›

Kolb's Experimental Learning Cycle (1974) consist of four stages: (1) completing a concrete experience by doing an activity, (2) reflecting and observing the experience, (3) forming abstract concepts by thinking about the experience, and (4) using the experience for planning future tasks.

How do you write a Kolb cycle? ›

Kolb's model is based on four stages, requiring you to work through each one before the cycle leads to new experiences and loops back around.
  1. 1) Concrete Experience. This stage required you to experience something. ...
  2. 2) Reflective Observation. ...
  3. 3) Abstract Conseptualsim. ...
  4. 4) Active Experiementation.
6 days ago

What are examples of experiential learning? ›

Experiential learning examples.

Going to the zoo to learn about animals through observation, instead of reading about them. Growing a garden to learn about photosynthesis instead of watching a movie about it. Hoping on a bicycle to try and learn to ride, instead of listening to your parent explain the concept.

Which of the following is an example activity of reflective observation? ›

Reflective Observation

For example, if an employee fails to accomplish a certain task or meet a goal, a leader can reflect on previous approaches and develop a strategy to help the employee succeed the next time.

Videos

1. David Kolb's Experiential Learning
(Begrepen be)
2. Experiential Learning Cycle: David A Kolb
(Learnwithme)
3. Kolb Learning Cycle
(WentworthInstTech)
4. 8 Things To Know About the Experiential Learning Cycle (FULL)
(EBLS)
5. Kolb Learning Styles
(Student Success Space)
6. Reflection and Kolb's Cycle
(John Gaspar)

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