Learner Centred Learning/Adult Learning Theories, Principles and Practices/Kolb’s Learning Cycle

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David Kolb’s work developed from the influences of John Dewey, Kurt Lewin and Jean Piaget. Kolb’s Learning Cycle reflects an experiential way of learning identifying 4 main aspects of learning

    • Concrete experience
    • Reflective observation
    • Abstract conceptualisation
    • Active experimentation

These aspects are ordered in a cyclical model to indicate a continuous process. All four aspects are considered necessary for effective learning to occur (Fry, Ketteridge & Marshall, 1999).

Expanding on the original model Kolb worked with D. Wolf to identify 4 learning styles

  • Convergent - practical application of ideas
  • Divergent - imaginative ability and generation of ideas
  • Assimilation - creating theoretical models and making sense of disparate


  • Accommodative - Carrying out plans and tasks that involve them in new


Although learners may have a preference for a particular learning style it was still suggested that all four aspects needed to be incorporated for effective learning (Fry, Ketteridge & Marshall, 1999).

Below are links to a variety of viewpoints and information on Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle.