Kolb Learning Cycle Theory

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Reflective practice is important as it develops professionalism amongst lecturers in the sense that lecturers gain by learning from their experiences in teaching and facilitation of student learning (Harb and Ronald, 1992). The development of reflective learning simply means coming up with ways of reviewing individual teaching experiences such that it becomes a routine process. This area of experiential learning was further advanced by development of Experiential learning theory by Kolb. The theory provides a model that aids in building the routine process. The process is what is known as the learning cycle, The Kolb’s cycle or The Experiential learning cycle (Healey and Jenkins, 2000). Many people also regard it as a training cycle because it is the only way that can enable teachers to reach all students in a given classroom (Felder cited in Richard et al. 1996, p. 227). The model offers the opportunity to explain cycles of experiential learning and understand the different learning styles of different people. The cycle can be entered at any stage but the sequence must be followed to allow successful learning. The relevance of this cycle lies in its suggestion that experience is not a sufficient necessity in the learning process. However, reflection on experience in order to come up with formulae concepts and generalizations is a necessary. The generalizations that have been generated should be applicable to new situations. The new situations provide ground for the learning to be tested. Learners must also be able to make credible links between action and planning (Felder, 1993). This can be done by acting out, planning, relating and reflecting back on the theory. Felder quotes Kolb in stating that the cycle ensures that a learner touches a cycle of experience, reflection, thought and action. Immediate experiences lead to reflections and observations. The reflections are later absorbed into concepts that are abstract for the purpose of action. The action gives opportunities for people to actively test and experiment with hence leading to creation of new experiences. The model works on two levels that have four stages each. The first stage constitutes concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization and active experimentation. The other level constitutes of a definition of four- type learning styles. Each of the learning styles constitutes of two preferred styles. It is more like a two by two matrix derived from the four stage cycle (Harb and Ronald, 1992). Diverging is the first style and is made up of concrete experience and reflective observation. Diverges on the other hand are known to view situations from a variety of perspectives. Their many points of view ensure that they rely on brainstorming and the generation of ideas. Assimilation is made up of abstract conceptualization and reflective observation. Assimilators are known to have the abilities of using inductive reasoning and creation of theoretical models (Healey and Jenkins, 2000). Converging on the other hand constitutes of abstract conceptualization and active experimentation and converges are known to rely mostly on hypothetical and deductive reasoning. Accommodating is also made up of active experimentation and concrete experience. Accommodators are known to execute plans and experiments. They are also known for their uncanny adaptation to immediate circumstances. Felder cited in Richard et al. (1996) insinuates that the doing aspect of the cycle is known as the concrete experience. This experience is what is gathered from using online modules, attending workshops, actual classroom experiences as a tutor and prior experiences derived as a student. The reflection observation or reviewing experience stems from judgments and analysis of events. It also comprises of discussions about teaching and learning that has been conducted with mentors and colleagues. It is natural for people to reflect on such experiences...
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