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The Kolb Cycle -a theory of experiential learning, developed by David Kolb, shows a useful structure to develop teaching practice. This is also called as The Learning Cycle or The Experiential Learning Cycle. The cycle consists of four variety stages of studying from experience. Cycle can be started at any point but every stage must be followed in series for victorious learning to take place.
Learning Cycle and Styles
The Learning Cycle implies that there is no need to have an experience for learning. To make decisions regarding concepts, which can be used to fresh situations, it is essential to reflect on the experience. By planning, acting out, reflecting and connecting it back to the theory the learner must make connection between the theory and action. According to Kolb (1984), four combinations of perceiving and processing to find out four learning styles that make up a learning cycle.
Two related approaches toward grasping experience that ELT model outlines: Concrete Experience and Abstract Conceptualization, as well as two related approaches toward transforming experience: Reflective Observation and Active Experimentation. As per Kolb's model, the perfect learning process engages all four of these methods in response to situational demands. To make learning more effective, all these four methods must be included. However, they have a tendency to build up strengths in one experience-grasping method and one experience-transforming approach as individuals try to use all four methods. Obtained learning styles differ as per the combinations of the individual's preferred approaches.
Stages of learning cycle
According to Kolb and Fry (1975), the learning cycle can be stared at any one of the four points - but it should really be followed or approached in a continuous spiral method. However, it is said that the learning process sometimes starts with a single person carrying out a specific process and then considering the same result of the action in this circumstances. After the above mentioned step, the next step is to recognize these effects in the particular case. If the same process was taken in the same situations, it is possible to foresee what would come from or follow from the action. In this same way the third stage would recognize the general principle under which the specific case falls.
Generalizing involves actions over a range of circumstances. This may helps in achieving skill over a particular case and also explains the general principle. Studying the general principle does not mean a capability to express the principle in a symbolic medium, that is, the skill to put it into language. It indicates or shows only the capability to find a relation between the actions and effects over a series of circumstances. (Coleman 1976).
A person who has studied or analyzed in this discussed way may well have a rough and imaginary ideas or information or generalizations about what should done in variety situations. He will have knowledge on how to behave or act in a situation where two individuals in a group are having issues among themselves but they won't be capable enough to articulate their behavior in psychodynamic or sociological conditions. Hence there might be problems in transferring what they have learned to other situations or environments.
According to David Kolb, when the general principle is understood, the final step is its practical application or its utilization through action in fresh conditions within the range of generalization. In some cases, while representing these experiential learning steps or stages, (or like one them), are sometimes represented as a spherical movement. In practical or in reality, if learning is done, the procedure could be seen as a coiled in shape. The process is taking place in a variety kind of situations and the learner will be now capable to foresee the likely effects of the process.
There are two characteristics which need special mention: the use of concrete, 'here-and-now' experience to test ideas; and use of feedback to change practices and theories (Kolb 1984). Joining these with Dewey, Kolb emphasize the advancing or developmental character of the exercise and also with Piaget for an appreciation of cognitive development. So as to highlight the connection with Dewey, Lewin and Piaget, and to stress the role experience plays in learning, he named his model. He made a distinguision of the same from cognitive theories of the learning process (Coleman 1976).
Learning Styles and their linkage to cycle
According to David Kolb and Roger Fry (1975) , successful learning requires the possession of four variety abilities (as showed on each pole of their model): concrete experience abilities, reflective observation abilities, abstract conceptualization abilities and active experimentation abilities. Few us can approach the 'ideal' in this respect and tend, they put forward for the development of a strength, or adjustment to, in one of the poles of each dimension. As a result of all these, they got advanced in learning style inventory (Kolb 1976) which was intended to position people on a line between concrete experience and abstract conceptualization; and active experimentation and reflective observation. According to Kolb, the learning cycle consists of four processes that cannot be avoided for learning to occur:
Diverging (feeling and watching - CE/RO) - These people have an ability to gaze at things from variety of viewpoints. They are responsive or sensitive. Better than doing it in practical they prefer more in watching, concentrated in collecting information and try to solve problems using imaginations and assumptions. For viewing concrete situations from several different perspectives, they are best. Taking into consideration, the procedures that requires idea generation, for example brainstorming, these people perform very efficiently. That is why Kolb called this style 'Diverging'. These type of People who has got a Diverging learning style have an extensive cultural benefits and they like to collect information rather than doing anything practical. They are more interested in things that are likely to be creative and emotional, and likely to be strong in the arts. Persons with this style like working in groups, to pay attention with an open mind and to gather personal feedback.
Assimilating (watching and thinking - AC/RO) - The Assimilating learning give stress on a brief, logical or reasonable approach. More than people ideas and concepts are important. Rather than realistic opportunity these people require good obvious explanation. They are well or skilled in understanding extensive information and co-coordinating it in a clear logical format. Just being different to Diverging style people, people with an Assimilating learning style are more interested in ideas and theoretical concepts and less focused on people. People with this style pay more attention to logically sound theories than practical value approaches. These people are significant for efficiency in information and science careers. In official learning circumstances, people with Assimilating learning style prefer, lectures, readings, investigating analytical models, and having time to think things through.
Converging (doing and thinking - AC/AE) - People with a Converging learning style can find solutions for the problems. They use their learning to find solutions to practical issues. They are less concerned with people and interpersonal aspects but prefer technical tasks. These people are best at finding realistic uses for ideas and theories. They can find solutions for problems and make decisions according to the solution they found. These people pay more attention towards technical things and problems than communal or interpersonal issues. It enables expert and technological aptitude. These people like to research with fresh ideas, to reproduce, and to employ with practical applications.
Accommodating (doing and feeling - CE/AE) - The Accommodating learning style is 'hands-on', and relies on insight rather than logic. These people use information collected by other people and prefer to take a practical, experiential approach. To carrying out strategy, they pay attention to new challenges and experiences. Rather than logical analysis, they usually take action on 'gut' instinct. This learning style is widespread and useful in cases that requires action and initiative. For completing functions these type of people that is, people with an Accommodating learning style work as a group. Commonly used strategy by Accommodating learning style people are setting up a target and energetically trying different ways to achieve an objective.
Kolb and Fry, along with Witkin (1950), have assisted to challenge those models of learning that seek to diminish potential to one dimension like intelligence (Tennant 1997) in developing this model. They also recognize that there are positive or strengths and negative or weaknesses linked with every style (and that being 'locked into' one style can put a learner at a serious disadvantage). However, there are a so many problems with the model.