As you are aware that each one of us is unique in our own style, intelligence and in the way we learn. You may be familiar with the three kinds of learners namely: Auditory, Visual and Kinesthetic
How do we actually learn? Have you tried making a sandwich or driving a car? Were the experiences similar or were they significantly different? Was one easier than the other?
- While making a sandwich if someone was to guide you with instructions to make a sandwich you need to know the names of the ingredients to be able to put them together. If you have seen someone make a sandwich and serve it, you may find it easier and the learning may have been deeper.
- Can you actually just listen to instructions and drive a car? Theoretically you need to know the paddles and gears on the car and you need to observe someone driving the car to get a sense of space and movement, while you are sitting inside the car.
An effective learning process involves motivation, information, reflection, thinking, experimenting, and finally putting new ideas and concepts into practice. This is referred to as experiential learning.
One of the models of experiential learning was created and presented by David Kolb, an American educational theorist. The model emphasizes the following:
- the importance of students’ motivation to learn,
- being actively involved in their own learning,
- students’ ability to reflect on the experience,
- using analytical skills to conceptualize the experience,
- using their problem solving skills to
- Make decisions and change them if any alteration
Phase 1: Concrete Experience: Feeling
The onset of learning is linked to one’s emotions felt during the experience or activity. Positive and pleasant emotions lend to the motivation to learn further.
Example: When you plan a trip to a farm or a fun place with your child the experience of spending time together is priority and an add on is learning about how vegetables are grown and how animals are looked after. This incidental learning makes the child more curious to learn more.
Phase 2: Reflective Observation: Watching
While gaining a new experience the learner observes new situations. This encourages the process of thinking, analyzing, building connections. Learners begin to gather other’s point of view and make perspectives. This helps the learner make new meanings from the experience.
For example: Once the learner has experienced and observed the plants and animals in nature they may start linking them to other knowledge. They may think about how the chick and hen are related. How the sheep can eat grass so it must be having different kind of teeth or digestive ability.
Phase 3: Abstract Conceptualization: Thinking
At this stage, students think about their experience and the situation. The purpose in this stage is to make the learner question more by connecting the experiences to own self and fit the information to existing concepts, create new concepts and ideas or modify the existing concepts.
For example: Learner’s existing concept of ‘not wanting to eat salad’ is challenged by new experience of enjoying the process of choosing the vegetable, letting someone cut it into a salad and garnishing it with lime and fresh cream. The child may want to go home and practice making their own salad because this learning has formed new perceptions.
Phase 4: Active Experimentation: Doing
This stage refers to not only keeping the learning to oneself but influencing others in the learner’s reach. By letting other friends and family know that vegetables can taste good when enjoyed with lime and cream.
Example: The child may want to call a few friends home and prepare the salad for them. This extends the learning to new situations and perspectives.