Working with Others

Kolb's Learning Loop

Kolb's Experiential Learning Cycle

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Hopefully now you can start to understand some deeper theory and rationale of why team work supports adult development and education. Experiential Learning (developed by David Kolb) is another theory that emphasizes the central role that experience plays in the learning process.

There are four stages:

Concrete Experience: Doing something where the individual or teams are assigned a task. Key to learning is active involvement. In Kolb’s model one cannot learn by simply watching or reading about it, to learn effectively there must be doing.

Reflective Observation: The second stage is pausing and taking a step back from the doing to reflect on what has been done and experienced. Lots of questions are asked and open communication is important.

Abstract Conceptualization: The third stage is the process of making sense of what has happened and interpreting events and understanding the relationships between them. At this stage the learner(s) make comparisons between what they have done, reflect upon and what they already know. They present models, look deeper at theories and facts.

Active Experimentation: The final stage of the learning cycle is the ‘how’ of the learning. The learner considers how they are going to put what they learnt into practice. The learner takes the new understanding and learning and decides what actions should be taken to refine and revise. It is important that the learning is made relevant and meaningful to the lives of the learners.

Learn more about David Kolb's Theory on Experiential Learning