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Authorship/referencing Having developed the model over many years prior, David Kolb published his learning styles model in 1984.
Accordingly - especially if you are working with young people - use systems and methods with care.
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 says that ideally (and by inference not always) this process represents a learning cycle or spiral where the learner 'touches all the bases', ie., a cycle of experiencing, reflecting, thinking, and acting.
In this respect, Kolb's model is particularly elegant, since it offers both a way to understand individual people's different learning styles, and also an explanation of a cycle of experiential learning that applies to us all.
Kolb includes this 'cycle of learning' as a central principle his experiential learning theory, typically expressed as four-stage cycle of learning, in which 'immediate or concrete experiences' provide a basis for 'observations and reflections'.
These 'observations and reflections' are assimilated and distilled into 'abstract concepts' producing new implications for action which can be 'actively tested' in turn creating new experiences.
These reflections are then assimilated (absorbed and translated) into abstract concepts with implications for action, which the person can actively test and experiment with, which in turn enable the creation of new experiences.
Kolb's model, therefore, works on two levels - a four-stage cycle: and a four-type definition of learning styles, (each representing the combination of two preferred styles, rather like a two-by-two matrix of the four-stage cycle styles, as illustrated below), for which Kolb used the terms: Here is a new improved (May 2006) free diagram illustrating Kolb's learning cycle and learning types (MSWord).
Here are brief descriptions of the four Kolb learning styles: As with any behavioural model, this is a guide not a strict set of rules.