Kolb Life Learning Essays

See also Gardner's Multiple Intelligences and VAK learnings styles models, which assist in understanding and using Kolb's learning styles concepts.

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In his publications - notably his 1984 book 'Experiential Learning: Experience As The Source Of Learning And Development' Kolb acknowledges the early work on experiential learning by others in the 1900's, including Rogers, Jung, and Piaget.

The model gave rise to related terms such as Kolb's experiential learning theory (ELT), and Kolb's learning styles inventory (LSI).

Despite this, (and this is my personal view, not the view of the 'anti-Learning Styles lobby'), many teachers and educators continue to find value and benefit by using Learning Styles theory in one way or another, and as often applies in such situations, there is likely to be usage which is appropriate, and other usage which is not.

Moreover Learning Styles objectors and opponents assert that heavy relience upon Learning Styles theory in developing and conducting young people's education, is of questionable benefit, and may in some cases be counter-productive.

Our learning style is a product of these two choice decisions: The combination of these two choices produces a preferred learning style. It's often easier to see the construction of Kolb's learning styles in terms of a two-by-two matrix.

The diagram also highlights Kolb's terminology for the four learning styles; diverging, assimilating, and converging, accommodating: Thus, for example, a person with a dominant learning style of 'doing' rather than 'watching' the task, and 'feeling' rather than 'thinking' about the experience, will have a learning style which combines and represents those processes, namely an 'Accommodating' learning style, in Kolb's terminology.

Kolb meant by this that we cannot do both at the same time, and to an extent our urge to want to do both creates conflict, which we resolve through choice when confronted with a new learning situation.

We internally decide whether we wish to do or watch, and at the same time we decide whether to think or feel.

(This interpretation was amended and revised March 2006) Kolb explains that different people naturally prefer a certain single different learning style.

Various factors influence a person's preferred style: notably in his experiential learning theory model (ELT) Kolb defined three stages of a person's development, and suggests that our propensity to reconcile and successfully integrate the four different learning styles improves as we mature through our development stages.

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