Kolb’s Learning Styles

Yesterday we had a session which highlighted the need to understand that learners come with experience. Particularly we looked at Kolb’s Learning Styles and the four stages this model involves.


Concrete (Experience) – Doing / Having an experience

Reflective (Observation) – Reviewing / Reflecting on the experience

Abstract  (Conceptualisation) – Concluding / Learning from the experience

Active (Experimentation)  – Planning / trying out what you have learned

Personally I feel that any learning activity can be placed within the context of this model. In the session we were also asked to perform as task to see if we used the four stages. The task itself was to build the tallest tower possible with straws. We started by putting the straws together in a triangle to see if they would support themselves (Concrete), although looking quite sturdy to start the town fell over because it wasn’t supported enough (Observation). We then discussed building an accompanying support and how this would help the structure to stand (Conceptualisation), we then built the accompanying structure (Experimentation).

For those interested in whether our town stood unaided, I’m pleased to say it did! But this activity and others go to illustrate the different stages and development that occurs when learning. There have been many theories which build upon and develop Kolb’s Learning Styles and I hope to evaluate these again in another future post.


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