Overview of Kolb’s Experimental Learning and Experimental Learning Cycle
Kolb’s learning theory is premised on four learning styles that refer to a four-stage learning model. In particular, Kolb’s model is quite practical and multi-dimensional because it offers effective techniques for understanding different learning styles that individuals apply. More importantly, the theory introduces an experimental learning cycle that relies on the principle of concrete or immediate experiences, which in turn provide a basis for reflections and observations. The reflections are defined within abstract concepts that create a rationale for action and enrich new experiences.
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Ideally, the learning cycle represents a spiral that covers such dimensions as reflection, thinking, experiencing, and acting. About these dimensions, an individual can resort to a combined set of concepts that are accompanied with implications for action. To be more exact, it is based on four main stages, including Reflective Observation (RO), Abstract Conceptualization (AC), Concrete Experience (CE), and Active Experimentation (AE).
These stages correspond to the combination of two stages that are mentioned above, including diverging (a combination of CE and RO), assimilating (AC and RO), accommodating (CE and AE), and, finally, converging (AC/AE). Hence, the first style refers to the ‘feel and watch’ frame of action; the second one is associated with the ‘think and watch’ model; the third one relates to a ‘feel and do’ scheme; finally, converging focuses on a ‘think and do’ action. All these combinations can be represented in individuals in different combinations and with various degrees of the display.
Applying Kolb’s Learning Theory to Personal Analysis
While exploring Kolb’s learning theory, I think that my learning style corresponds to the converging learning stages that encompass Active Conceptualization and Active Experimentation. Such an approach means that I am capable of solving problems and providing solutions in a practical situation. These skills refer to developing technical skills and, therefore, I am less concerned with such aspects as communication. Problem-solving is especially important in a business setting because it allows a person to accommodate contingencies and search for viable solutions. I am also fond of experimenting and searching for new ideas and experiences that could be applied in practice.
About the above-presented description, I believe that this type of learning can be successfully utilized for my professional growth. It also allows me to realize the potential shortcomings of the described skills and experiences. In particular, I should pay much attention to interpersonal communication to establish fruitful relations in a team. The model, therefore, precisely explains the main features of attitude to work and professional development.
Experiences from Past Learning
While learning in high school I have always been interested in working out specific models that can allow me to develop new schemes and generate new ideas. I was also a fold of sports activities because they allow me to release my energy and explore the new potential of my physical skills. Apart from sporting activities, I always remember myself taking with my arms’ swinging. I believed that such an approach to retelling a story is more persuasive and accurate for a listener to imagine the picture or situation I described. Being active helped me much in exploring the environment and predicting possible solutions to the problems.
A quick reaction to challenges is especially crucial in a constantly changing business setting. Also, such a skill is indispensable to act successfully in a global environment. Moreover, because I am an international foundation program student and study business administration, I believe that the learning style I possess is especially valuable for grasping the basics of international relations and business management.
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Recommendations for Improvements
Certainly, being an active and experimental learner is especially beneficial while operating in an international environment because it is a great opportunity to confront new ideas, perspectives, and experiences. On the other hand, people with a converging learning style have difficulties with communication, which is a significant gap. In this respect, I believe that I should work much on developing communication and negotiation skills that can help me to avoid conflicts and compromise in difficult and stressful situations. According to Kolb’s learning theory, a pragmatic way of learning makes me more practical in solving problems.
However, reliance on theoretical frameworks and other people’s experience is also important to avoid contingencies and become more flexible in business communication. Therefore, I should also be more focused on developing an assimilating learning style to be able to work in a team and solve problems about other individuals’ decisions and opinions. Besides, this way of learning will allow me to become more reasonable and consistent in making steps toward an important decision, as well as in delivering viable solutions.