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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).
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.
See further notes about Learning Styles detractors and considerations below.
Kolb's learning theory sets out four distinct learning styles (or preferences), which are based on a four-stage learning cycle.
The development stages that Kolb identified are: Whatever influences the choice of style, the learning style preference itself is actually the product of two pairs of variables, or two separate 'choices' that we make, which Kolb presented as lines of axis, each with 'conflicting' modes at either end: Concrete Experience - CE (feeling) -----V-----Abstract Conceptualization - AC (thinking) Active Experimentation - AE (doing)-----V----- Reflective Observation - RO (watching) A typical presentation of Kolb's two continuums is that the east-west axis is called the Processing Continuum (how we approach a task), and the north-south axis is called the Perception Continuum (our emotional response, or how we think or feel about it).
That said, everyone responds to and needs the stimulus of all types of learning styles to one extent or another - it's a matter of using emphasis that fits best with the given situation and a person's learning style preferences. In his publications - notably his 1984 book 'Experiential Learning: Experience As The Source Of Learning And Development' Kolb acknowledges the early work on experiential learning by others in the 1900's, including Rogers, Jung, and Piaget. The model gave rise to related terms such as Kolb's experiential learning theory (ELT), and Kolb's learning styles inventory (LSI).It is wrong to apply any methodology blindly and unquestioningly, and wrong not to review and assess effectiveness of methods used.That said, Learning Styles theories such as Kolb's model and VAK are included on this website for very broad purposes; these materials form a part of a much bigger range of concepts and other content concerning personality, self-awareness, self-development, and the development of mutual understanding and teams, etc., especially for the use in adult careers, work, business, management, human resources, and commercial training.