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Kolb’s Learning styles

Prepared By
Manu Melwin Joy
Assistant Professor
Ilahia School of Management Studies
Kerala, India.
Phone – 9744551114
Mail –

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Basic principles of learning
A. The principle of reinforcement:
continuous and repetitive
practice ensures the retention
of knowledge and skills.
B. The principle of behavior
modeling: set models for the
trainees to follow.
C. The principle of feedback:
timely and adequate feedback
motivates the trainees.
D. The principle of learning
transfer: those that can be
transferred to work are most
likely to be retained.
Kolb’s Learning styles
• Kolb's (1984) learning theory
sets out four distinct learning
styles (or preferences), which
are based on a four-stage
learning cycle.
• Kolb's model offers both a way
to understand individual
learning styles, and also an
explanation of a cycle of
experiential learning that
applies to all learners.
The Four Stage Learning Cycle
• Kolb proposed that an individual
learner moves through a spiral of
immediate experience which
leads to observations and
reflections on the experience.
• These reflections are then
absorbed and linked with
previous knowledge and
translated into abstract concepts
or theories, which result in new
ways and actions to adjust to the
experience that can be tested
and explored.
The Four Stage Learning Cycle
• Kolb described the four stages in the cycle of
experiential learning as:
Concrete Experience (CE)
• This stage of the learning cycle
emphasizes personal
involvement with people in
everyday situations.
• In this stage, the learner would
tend to rely more on feelings
than on a systematic approach
to problems and situations.
• In a learning situation, the
learner relies on the ability to
be open-minded and adaptable
to change.
• For example, a student
performs an initial interview for
the first time.
Reflective Observation (RO)
• In this stage of the learning cycle,
people understand ideas and
situations from different points of
• In a learning situation the learner
would rely on patience, objectivity,
and careful judgment but would not
necessarily take any action.
• The learner would rely on their own
thoughts and feelings in forming
• In the example, after finishing the
student reflects on what they did,
makes observations and discusses
how they went with their educator.
Abstract Conceptualisation (AC)
• In this stage, learning involves using
theories, logic and ideas, rather than
feelings, to understand problems or
• Typically, the learner relies on
systematic planning and develops
theories and ideas to solve
• In the example, the student then
thinks about the interview process
and their performance and tries to
make links between previous
experience of interviewing, the
client and what they heard, and any
theories or knowledge they can
Active Experimentation (AE)
• Learning in this stage takes an
active form - experimenting
with changing situations.
• The learner would take a
practical approach and be
concerned with what really
works, as opposed to simply
watching a situation.
• In the example, the student
considers ways to improve,
and tries out methods and
strategies based on the
previous stages of the cycle.
The Four Stage Learning Cycle
Retention of Learning

• 20% AC
• 50% AC + RO
• 70% AC + RO + CE
• 90% AC + RO + CE + AE

Source: 2006 Hay Group

Kolb's learning styles
• Kolb's four stage learning
cycle provides the basis
for his model of learning
• Kolb proposed that an
individual's learning style
was the product of two
pairs of preferences we
have in how we
approach the task of
Kolb's learning styles
• Kolb presented these as lines of axis, each with
"conflicting" modes at either end:
Kolb's learning styles
• Kolb proposed that learning is a
combination of both how we
approach a task and how we
respond to and assimilate the
• In approaching a task
(processing) we have a
preference for either doing or
watching, and in responding to
the experience we have a
preference for either feeling or
• The combination of these
preferences creates four main
learning styles.
Kolb's learning styles
• Learn primarily by
• Act on “gut” rather than
logical analysis (intuitive)
• Rely more heavily on
people for information
than technical analysis
• Like getting involved in
new experiences
• Task oriented
• View concrete
solutions from many
different points of view
• Like brainstorming,
idea generation
• Observe rather than
take action
• Imaginative, creative
• Focus more on abstract
ideas and concepts than
• More important that
theory is sound rather
than have practical value
• Can take a wide range of
information and put it
into concise, logical form
• Practical application of
• Solution focused –
decision maker
• Prefer dealing with
technical problems
rather than social or
interpersonal issues
• Does best when there is
a single right answer