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About AEE
Vision: We believe learning through experience positively transforms people and our
Mission: AEE promotes and expands the global capacity of experiential learning.
We work to achieve the Mission through the following Ends:
1. An inclusive and expanding experiential learning community is encouraged, nurtured
and celebrated. Firmly rooted in the philosophy, principles and practices of experiential
a. This community of practitioners and explorers of experiential learning is convened.
b. Practitioners and explorers are educated to build their capacity and increase their
2. Authoritative information for promoting, implementing and advancing the philosophy,
principles, and practices of experiential learning is accessible.
a. A network of researchers is engaged in validating and advancing experiential learning.
b. Rigorous experiential learning research is guided and disseminated for practitioner
application and for stakeholder influence.
c. Standards are identified to improve professional practice, advocate for the well-being
of participants, and protect the reputation of experiential learning worldwide.
i. Standards of practice are relevant, accessible and utilized.
ii. Accreditations and certifications are utilized to promote adoption of the standards.
iii. Relevant accrediting bodies are responsive to AEE standards.
d. Relevant resources are disseminated.

3. Public audiences value and support experiential learning.

a. Awareness and understanding of experiential learning is increased.
b. Influence and impact upon policy and practice is broadened.

Our Values
Global Community: Bringing together individuals and organizations is essential to further
experiential education methodologies and practices around the globe.
● We celebrate our shared values and exchange our own unique cultural experiences in
the field
● We collaborate, support and develop relationships through ongoing dialogue and
shared learning across the globe.

Adventure and Challenge: Adventure and challenge are fundamental elements for
experiential learning in the classroom, natural world, and beyond.

● We enhance the learning process through active holistic engagement.

● We challenge ourselves and others to develop creative solutions to complex problems

Reflective Leadership: Reflective leadership is vital in strengthening our best practices as

experiential educators.

● We reflect on mistakes and successes as opportunities for growth and learning

● We utilize personal reflection to be aware of our biases and preconceptions and how
this affects the learning process
Social Justice: Supporting people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures is an
integral part of developing successful experiential education programming.

● We create spaces of mutuality, compassion, respect and exchange of diverse

perspectives, experiences and needs around experiential education.
● We expand and strengthen the presence, knowledge and practice of diversity,
inclusion and equity within all levels of our organization and across our field.

The Natural World: Conservation of the natural world is key to protecting the enjoyment
and learning of all individuals, communities and future generations.

● We earn trust within communities through efforts to support the natural systems that
allow us to do our work.
● We conduct our work in an environmentally sensitive way to protect and preserve the
natural spaces which play a powerful role in our work.

Creative Play: Play and laughter enhance creativity and allow for engaged learning

● We utilize play to encourage both educators and participants to be curious,

experiment, investigate and persevere to enhance learning.
● We embrace spontaneous opportunities for learning.


**** Pre-conference Workshops

Pre-Conferences take place prior to the start of the conference, and are in-depth workshops that
provide an expanded opportunity for professional development. For our 2017 conference, AEE is
excited to offer the following options:

Back to Basics: Experiential Facilitation

Presented by Marin Burton, PhD of the Center for Creative Leadership
11/8 9am-4pm @ Le Centre Sheraton Montreal
Let’s get back to the basics! In this workshop we will engage in a dynamic day of
professional development focused on increasing your facilitation capacity. We will
explore facilitator mindsets and characteristics of effective facilitation. We will consider
how AEE’s principles of experiential education and the experiential learning cycle apply
to your facilitation practice while using leadership development content to pull back the
curtain on fundamental experiential facilitation skills. You will also meet and develop
relationships with other AEE community members interested in developing their capacity
for experiential education through engaging in a shared experience.

Agenda Includes:

 Community Building and Setting Norms

 Characteristics of Effective Facilitation
 Experiential Education Principles & Mindsets
 Experiential learning cycle explored through initiatives
 Framing & Debriefing
 Facilitation practice experience & reflection
Facilitator Info: Dr. Marin Burton is a senior faculty member at the Center for Creative
Leadership in the Societal Advancement Division. She designs and delivers leadership
curriculum utilizing intentional educational and experiential methodologies. She has been
an experiential educator for over 20 years.

NOLS Risk Management Training

11/7-8 8am-5pm @ Le Centre Sheraton Montreal
$700 (Discounts: 10% off for AEE members and NOLS Grads, 15% off for AEE
Accredited programs)
Risk management planning is critical for any organization taking students or participants
into remote environments or outdoor settings. Using lecture, discussion, exercises, and
hands-on scenarios, this 2-day training will provide a structured approach and the
necessary tools to build a risk management plan appropriate for your organization.
During this training, participants will:
 Learn a structured approach to organizing a risk management plan.
 Think analytically about curriculum, administrative processes, staff hiring and
training, field support services and crisis planning.
 Use the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) risk management framework
to evaluate an incident and a program for weaknesses in their risk management
 Participate in exercises to help people evaluate their organization’s approach to
staffing, contracting, and emergency and crisis planning.
You'll come away with the following tools to help you manage risk:

 Risk Management Action Plan Workbook

 NOLS Crisis Management Template
 NOLS Wilderness Medicine Protocol Package ($149 value)
 Risk/Release, Health Screening, and Orientation Checklist examples
 Self-study Program Assessment Tool

Experiential Brain-Based Approaches to Engage, Motivate, Build Community and

Create Lasting Lessons
Presented by Jen Stanchfield of Experiential Tools
11/8 9am-3:30pm @ Le Centre Sheraton Montreal
$125 AEE Members, $145 (non-members)
Join this interactive and engaging workshop and fill your toolbox with experiential, brain-
based techniques to inspire and motivate learners, create a positive and supportive
environment, and facilitate meaningful reflection and group dialogue. Take away
innovative activities to get participants moving, talking, reflecting and keep them
engaged. Maximize buy-in, social and emotional learning, group building, and create
lasting lessons. These techniques create multiple pathways to learning and allow
educators to review and reinforce academic and training content in novel ways that
empower participants to take ownership of their learning experiences. Leave with
creative inspiration and new perspectives on your role as a facilitator or educator.

We will explore
 Experiential, brain-based methods to actively engage learners physically,
emotionally, socially and intellectually.
 Strategies for increasing participant involvement, buy-in, and ownership of learning
 Fundamentals of experiential group facilitation and teaching such as the
importance of participant choice and control, sequencing, ongoing assessment,
and meaningful reflection to create lasting lessons.
 A variety of group-building activities to develop rapport, community, and social-
emotional skills such as positive communication, problem-solving, collaboration,
and decision-making.
 Methods to help educators design, sequence, facilitate, and adapt activities to
enhance learning outcomes and take advantage of “teachable moments.”
 Interactive activities to build community and promote social and emotional learning
while enlivening lessons and differentiating instruction.
 Innovative reflection tools and techniques to increase relevancy, meaning, depth of
understanding, and connection to future learning situations.
Presenter Info: Jen offers practical resources derived from her diverse experiences with
learners of all ages incorporated with brain research to increase meaningful
engagement, reflection, social-emotional skills, and community-building. Jen is author of
Inspired Educator-Inspired Learner and Tips and Tools for the Art of Experiential Group

WMA Wilderness First Responder Recertification (WFR-Recert) Course

Instructor: Danny Pelad
11/6-8 8am-6pm @ McGill Sports Complex – Currie Gymnasium (2 miles from the
conference venue)
This course is action-packed with most of the topics covered through simulations, review
exercises, skills rotations, and patient assessment drills. We will revisit concepts that you
learned in earlier courses and bring you up to date on changes in the field of wilderness
Our classroom is in the McGill Sports Complex in the heart of Montreal. This gives us
great access to the forests of Mount Royal, right outside of the building.

The certification and curriculum for this course is from Wilderness Medical Associates
International (WMA). WMA has set the standard in wilderness medicine and rescue
training for over thirty years. The cutting-edge curriculum is constantly updated by a
group of healthcare professionals, has been taught on all 7 continents, and is recognized
around the world.

 You must have an unexpired Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certificate from
WMA or another approved provider such as Sirius, Solo, NOLS / Wilderness
Medical Institute or Slipstream. If you have questions about your eligibility, please
contact WMA. Please bring your certification card to class on the first day to show
your instructor.
 We will send you a study guide to complete before the course. It takes most
students 10 to 15 hours to review the material, answer the questions, and complete
the case studies in the study guide.
 You must be 16 years of age to participate in this course. 16 and 17 year olds need
written proof of parental consent.

 Please use your previous WMA textbook for the course preparation. If you no
longer have your WMA text, or are certified with another provider, please let us
know (email: programs@borealriver.com) and we will send you the WMA text.
 Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification
 CPR Healthcare Provider Level certification (CPR for adults, children, and infants.
Includes AED training)
 Text book, SOAP note booklet, WMA field guide, case studies workbook, notebook
(with lecture notes)
Instructor Info: Danny has worked full time in the outdoor industry as an expedition
leader and skills instructor since 2002. He is a Wilderness-EMT. His favorite things about
instructing with WMA are meeting people with a variety of talents and watching students
gain confidence as first responders.

Outdoor Orientation Programs Symposium (OOPS)

11/7-8 9am-5pm @ Le Centre Sheraton Montreal

Session 1: November 7 | 9:00am – 12:30pm | Writing Proposals to get Funding by Greg Corio,
West Virginia University
Cost: $50 Student / $75 Professional

Session 2: November 7 | 1:30pm – 5:00pm | Creating Assessments for your Program by Mark
Ceder, University of San Diego
Cost: $50 Student / $75 Professional

Session 3: November 8 | 9:00am – 5:00pm | Outdoor Orientation Program Symposium by Brent

Bell, University of New Hampshire
Cost: $110 Student / $170 Professional
Session Fee for all 3 events: $190 Student / $290 Professional
The Outdoor Orientation Program Symposium is dedicated to bringing program directors,
school administrators, student leaders, researchers, and land managers together to
discuss strategies for supporting students in wilderness pre-orientation programs.

Every Symposium provides context for program development and growth, best practices,
new program techniques, and nuts and bolts information that help established and
aspiring outdoor orientation programs. Attendees will learn from multiple presenters and
a keynote speaker in multiple presentation formats including experiential formats. Meals
are not provided during the OOPS session on 11/8. There will be a 1 hour break for
lunch on your own.

The outdoor orientation experiences provide students and young leaders with the unique
opportunity to develop supportive peer groups during transition to college. These
intensive, adventure-based experiences impact over 25,000 students a year, providing
many students with their first intensive outdoor recreation experience. These
experiences have also become a burgeoning area of growth for outdoor recreation

In 2012, the 2nd Outdoor Orientation Census was completed and in 6 years the number
of outdoor orientation programs increased from 162 in 2006, to 185 in 2012. Perhaps
most impressively, the number of student participants increased by 5,000 in the same
time period.

Stories About Borders: Valuing Inclusivity

Presented by the AEE Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group (TAPG)
11/7/17 12pm-8pm, 11/8/17 8am-4:30pm @ Le Centre Sheraton Montreal
$195 – Two Day Registration (Member); $225 – Two Day Registration (Non-Member);
$150 – Two Day Registration (Student Member); $180 – Two Day Registration (Student
Non-Member); $100 – One Day Registration (Member); $130 – One Day Registration
This year’s Therapeutic Adventure Professionals Group Pre-Conference will be held at
the main conference site in Montreal, with off-site field trips for the purposes of
community building and recognizing important achievements in the field of Adventure
Therapy. Participants will have the opportunity to increase their understanding of
engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation through the lens of an adventure
therapy practitioner, as well as participate in visioning for the future of the field. This will
be a great opportunity to learn about Adventure Therapy at its most fundamental and
clinical levels, across all forms of delivery, as well as an opportunity to network with
professionals in the field and have fun while doing it!

Mental Health First Aid 2-day Certification Course

Instructor: Jody Radtke, RCC
11/7-8 9am-4pm @ Le Centre Sheraton Montreal
Educators need to be prepared to respond appropriately to all participants who arrive at
our programs. We are trained in group dynamics, teaching progressions, first aid and
facilitation to name a few; but what do we know about responding to our students with
mental illness? What if one of your participants experiences their first panic attack on a
course due to the use of eustress in programming? That’s the one that inspired me to go
to grad school and study psychology after over 10 years in the field as a full-time outdoor
educator. But not everyone has the time or inclination to be a full-time student; nor do we
necessarily need that level of training for most of our programming.

Over 2-days, the mental health first aid course focuses on the four most common mental
health disorders including substance related, mood related, anxiety and trauma related,
and psychotic disorders. Participants who take this course are well prepared to interact
confidently about mental health with their family, friends, communities, and workplaces.

International evaluations and feedback have found the following outcomes for
participants undertaking an MHFA course:
 Increased awareness of signs and symptoms of the most common mental health
 Decreased stigma related to mental health
 Increased confidence interacting with individuals experiencing a mental health
problem or crisis
 Increased help actually provided to individuals in crisis or experiencing a mental
health problem
Instructor Info: Jody is an outdoor educator, wilderness therapist, clinical counsellor,
professional coach and all-around fun person to hang out with. Witty and engaging, her
presentation style will leave you contemplating our collective human experience,
becoming our best selves, and finding humor and lightness in the journey.

Enhancing Your Wilderness Interpretive Skills in the Urban Environment

Instructor: Rob Baker
11/8 9am-10am @ Le Centre Sheraton Montreal, 10am-4pm @ Park L'Anse A L'Orme
Come step into one of Montreal's most active urban wilderness environments and hone
your interpretative skills. Work with expert animal tracker Rob Baker to enhance your
tracking and naturalist skills. Learn about how to incorporate your local backyard park
and make it a meaningful wilderness setting for your students. This workshop will include
pedagogical theory, hands on naturalist skill training, transport to and from the field site,
and lunch. We look forward to a day spent sharing the wealth that local urban wilderness
environments can bring to your program.

Instructor Info: Rob Baker holds several certificates from tracking, wilderness, and
conservation authorities across North America, including the prestigious Level 3 Track
and Sign Certificate from CyberTracker—the gold standard in tracking certification. In all,
Rob has amassed 20 years of tracking experience.

*********** The 2017 ActivatEE Application is Now Closed...Applicants Will be

Notified of Their Proposal Status by September 15th.
"Experience is not what happens to you; it's what you do with what happens to you." -
Aldous Huxley
And all it takes is you - whoever you are. You don't need to have had one million
experiences, but rather made meaning of one that you are ready to share with us
around the proverbial campfire.
ActivatEE is sharing platform designed by the Association for Experiential Education
for its members and conference attendees during the International Conference.
ActivatEE is a developmental process, both for the speaker and the audience, where
we share ideas, test assumptions, and are asked to view a perspective through a
different lens. ActivatEE is designed to facilitate the process of creating one’s story,
inspiring the use of one’s voice, and launching an idea - all on stage during a
conference keynote.
Drafting the keynote:
 This platform invites you, the speaker, to share a story or idea through the use of
voice, during a 7-9 minute mini-keynote to an audience of 300-500.
 Think of an instant in time where you had an experience that became a profound
teaching moment for you, which truly influenced or altered your way of thinking or
being. Are you able and willing to share that message with others?
 Now visualize how you would want to share that story in terms of keynote address.
What did you hear, see, notice, and experience in that moment that had immediate
impact or had influence years down the road? Is there a method in your delivery that
helps convey your message?
 Answer the three questions:
 What? what is your story? what happened?
 So what? Why is it important or developmental to you? What meaning did you take
from it?
 Now what? How have you moved forward or how do you plan to use this going
forward? What is the transformation? How are you changed?
Your initial submission will likely not be your exact final presentation. This is just the
first step in a number of iterations that you and your presentation will go through
before delivering the final presentation.
Please note that these presentations are to be an experience relevant to your
perspective. You can certainly use bits of research to support your message, but this
not to be a research paper or a business promotion. We will really push all presenters
to constantly evaluate their message, knowing we want to channel a lesson learned
to activate the minds of those in the audience.
People love visuals! While it is certainly not a requirement, we strongly encourage
you to accompany your presentation with some sort of visual representation whether
it be a slide show, video or whatever other creative ideas you have!
The process:
 Draft your ActivatEE presentation and submit by August 1st.
The submission period for the 2017 conference has ended.
 A team will review the submissions and send out acceptance notices by September
 You will be asked to set up at least two phone calls/or Skype sessions in September
with a committee member to discuss your presentation. These sessions are designed
to provide feedback and suggestions regarding the delivery of the presentations.
 You will be required to attend an ActivatEE rehearsal during the international
conference on Friday, Nov 10 at 4:30pm. ActivatEE will be presented the morning of
Saturday, November 11. Additional practice sessions will also be available if
Get ready to inspire your peers!

hangemakers: Success Stories from around the

The 2017 keynote presentation is a collection of inspiring examples that epitomize the
steady growth and success of experiential education (EE) on a global scale. Each of the
three presenters has overcome obstacles while seeking to expand the practice of EE in
their regions. Through passion and perseverance, they have succeeded in transforming
education for hundreds of thousands of students around the world. They offer not only
strategies for success, but also a redefined vision of what is possible and how we might
best influence the future of education.
Tonia Gray, PhD
Centre for Educational Research, Western Sydney University
Sydney, Australia

Tonia Gray, Ph.D. is a Senior Researcher at Western Sydney University's Centre for
Educational Research, Australia. She has been involved in Wilderness Studies and
Outdoor Education for over 30 years as a researcher, practitioner, and curriculum
developer. With an MA in Community Health (UNC, Greeley Colorado) and a PhD in
Outdoor Education (AUS), her interdisciplinary research explores human-nature
relationships and their impact on well-being and human development. In 2014 Tonia
received the prestigious Australian Award for University Teaching (AAUT) for excellence
in outdoor experiential education. After extensive lobbying for outdoor learning to be an
integral part of the Australian curriculum, in 2017 the realization of her lifelong dream
eventually came true.

Outdoor Education and Adventure Therapy in Oz: Research, Practice, and


Outdoor Education and Adventure Therapy is a burgeoning industry, so let’s turn the
microscope onto what is happening “Down Under” to help broaden our worldview. Tonia
will provide a ‘power-walk’ through the Australian Outdoor Learning landscape
incorporating four interconnected themes: 1) a 30- year retrospective study on the effects
of Outdoor Education upon adolescent participants; 2) an exploration of the status of
women in Outdoor Learning environments; 3) recent school curriculum reform in 2017
acknowledging Outdoor Learning as a cross curriculum component; and 4) Acceptance
Commitment Therapy and Outdoor Learning to enhance wellbeing and skill
Tarun Chandna
Inme Learning
Gurgaon, India

Tarun is the co‐founder and CEO of Inme Learning & Exper Executive Education. Inme
runs adventure and outdoor-based life skills learning program for children and school
students, while Exper delivers high-impact leadership journeys and teambuilding
programs for CEOs and their teams.

A pioneer of experiential education in India, he has led the field of group facilitation,
behavioral, attitudinal training design and facilitation/delivery for the last 20 years. In
addition to his work with over 50,000 children, he has worked with organizations
including Google, Microsoft, Oracle, PepsiCo, American Express, HSBC, Vodafone,
DHL, Royal Bank of Scotland, Volvo Eicher, and others.

Experiential Education: India’s Story

This presentation will cover how the Experiential Education field has grown over the last
twenty years in India, and how the field has dealt with a myriad of challenges, including
lack of infrastructure, medical facilities, and qualified resources. Tarun will also share
how his program has adapted Western approaches to the Indian culture and
Phil Butterfield, EdD
Connect Charter School
Alberta, Canada
Phil Butterfield is principal of Connect Charter School in Calgary, Alberta. He has been
with Connect for 13 years as a school counselor, assistant principal, and is now in his
second year as principal. In January 2017, Dr. Butterfield created an experiential
education model that incorporates experiential and place-based education, providing
opportunities for all students to experience settings in the local community where they
gain appreciation of their role as a contributor, rather than a consumer.

EXPO: Connect Charter School’s Journey into an Experiential, Placed-Based

Outdoor Education Program

The EXPO Program forges partnerships with community agencies and corporations in
order to blend current outdoor education programs with place-based education. Within
the Experiential and Outdoor Education Program (EOEP), the school is integrating
learning loops that begin with students gaining conceptual understanding in the
classroom, and then engaging in purposefully constructed activities in the community.
Students not only make applications of learning to real world contexts, but develop an
appreciation for their role and place within their local community and beyond.

The school has gained a great deal of insight into the complexity, challenges, and
opportunities associated with organizational change when introducing an experiential
education program. This presentation will share what they have learned from their
journey, and how it can help your own organization best navigate the unexpected
challenges that arise when incorporating experiential education into more traditional

Going High When Others Go Low: Connecting,

Sharing and Growing for a Better World
Join AEE 'Superstar' Marilyn Levin for a powerful combination of
stories and activities aimed at capturing and directing the momentum of our amazing
international community towards a more caring and compassionate world. This closing
presentation is guaranteed to energize and inspire those who attend.

Marilyn Levin, MSW is proud to be a long time AEE member/leader and Karl Rohnke
Creativity award winner. She is a social entrepreneur focused on whole system
collaborative Innovation. She is an award winning activist, a professional speaker and
trainer and the author of Experiential Activities for a Better World. She founded several
organizations and served as Campaign Director for Four Years Go www.fouryearsgo.org.
She currently serves as Managing Director of KINS Innovation
Networks www.kinsinnovation.org in collaboration
with www.centerforsustainabilitysolutions.org.

************In an educational era focused on workforce readiness and 21st Century skills,
attendees will analyze the importance of experiential classroom strategies to the acquisition of
critical skills that enable students to compete and cooperate on a global stage. The webinar will
explore how experiential pedagogy can energize any existing curriculum, positively impact
student engagement, and deliver on both cognitive and affective skill development. Through a
review of current research and the emerging links between experiential instructional design and
student learning gains, participants will explore strategies that empower student learning and
equip them to thrive in our brave, new, flat world.

Presented by Tony Alvarez

In experiential education activities, sensitive situations can arise that may challenge the
processing and reflection skills of the facilitators. What can facilitators do to recognize or address
when their processing sessions are moving into volatile territory
(i.e., rapidly unpredictable, jeopardizing emotional safety, negatively emotionally-charged)? This
webinar will present a "helping model" approach that can help prevent or diffuse such situations.
We will further explore ideas and audience questions addressing sensitive situations that may
involve mental illness or emotional disturbance, extreme anxiety, strong outbursts, physical
threats, self-harm behavior, revealing illegal or criminal activity, victim or bullying issues, or
confidential information.



Kolb - Learning Styles
Saul McLeod published 2010, updated 2013

David Kolb published his learning styles model in 1984 from which he developed
his learning style inventory.
Kolb's experiential learning theory works on two levels: a four stage cycle of
learning and four separate learning styles. Much of Kolb’s theory is concerned
with the learner’s internal cognitive processes.
Kolb states that learning involves the acquisition of abstract concepts that can be
applied flexibly in a range of situations. In Kolb’s theory, the impetus for the
development of new concepts is provided by new experiences.
“Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation
of experience” (Kolb, 1984, p. 38).

The Experiential Learning Cycle

Kolb's experiential learning style theory is typically represented by a four stage
learning cycle in which the learner 'touches all the bases':

1. Concrete Experience - (a new experience of situation is encountered, or a

reinterpretation of existing experience).
2. Reflective Observation (of the new experience. Of particular importance
are any inconsistencies between experience and understanding).
3. Abstract Conceptualization (Reflection gives rise to a new idea, or a
modification of an existing abstract concept).
4. Active Experimentation (the learner applies them to the world around
them to see what results).
Effective learning is seen when a person progresses through a cycle of four stages:
of (1) having a concrete experience followed by (2) observation of and reflection
on that experience which leads to (3) the formation of abstract concepts (analysis)
and generalizations (conclusions) which are then (4) used to test hypothesis in
future situations, resulting in new experiences.

Kolb (1974) views learning as an integrated process with each stage being mutually
supportive of and feeding into the next. It is possible to enter the cycle at any stage
and follow it through its logical sequence.
However, effective learning only occurs when a learner is able to execute all four
stages of the model. Therefore, no one stage of the cycle is an effective as a
learning procedure on its own.

Learning Styles
Kolb's learning theory (1974) sets out four distinct learning styles, which are based
on a four-stage learning cycle (see above). Kolb explains that different people
naturally prefer a certain single different learning style. Various factors influence a
person's preferred style. For example, social environment, educational experiences,
or the basic cognitive structure of the individual.
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
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).

Kolb believed that we cannot perform both variables on a single axis at the same
time (e.g. think and feel). Our learning style is a product of these two choice
It's often easier to see the construction of Kolb's learning styles in terms of a two-
by-two matrix. Each learning style represents a combination of two preferred
styles. The diagram also highlights Kolb's terminology for the four learning styles;
diverging, assimilating, and converging, accommodating:
Doing (Active Watching (Reflective
Experimentation - AE) Observation - RO)

Feeling (Concrete Experience

Accommodating (CE/AE) Diverging (CE/RO)
- CE)

Thinking (Abstract
Converging (AC/AE) Assimilating (AC/RO)
Conceptualization - AC)

Learning Styles Descriptions

Knowing a person's (and your own) learning style enables learning to be orientated
according to the preferred method. 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
Here are brief descriptions of the four Kolb learning styles:

Diverging (feeling and watching - CE/RO)

These people are able to look at things from different perspectives. They are
sensitive. They prefer to watch rather than do, tending to gather information and
use imagination to solve problems. They are best at viewing concrete situations at
several different viewpoints.
Kolb called this style 'diverging' because these people perform better in situations
that require ideas-generation, for example, brainstorming. People with a diverging
learning style have broad cultural interests and like to gather information.
They are interested in people, tend to be imaginative and emotional, and tend to be
strong in the arts. People with the diverging style prefer to work in groups, to listen
with an open mind and to receive personal feedback.
Assimilating (watching and thinking -
The Assimilating learning preference is for a concise, logical approach. Ideas and
concepts are more important than people. These people require good clear
explanation rather than practical opportunity. They excel at understanding wide-
ranging information and organizing it in a clear logical format.
People with an assimilating learning style are less focused on people and more
interested in ideas and abstract concepts. People with this style are more attracted
to logically sound theories than approaches based on practical value.
This learning style is important for effectiveness in information and science careers.
In formal learning situations, people with this style prefer readings, lectures,
exploring analytical models, and having time to think things through.

Converging (doing and thinking - AC/AE)

People with a converging learning style can solve problems and will use their
learning to find solutions to practical issues. They prefer technical tasks, and are
less concerned with people and interpersonal aspects.
People with a converging learning style are best at finding practical uses for ideas
and theories. They can solve problems and make decisions by finding solutions to
questions and problems.
People with a converging learning style are more attracted to technical tasks and
problems than social or interpersonal issues. A converging learning style enables
specialist and technology abilities. People with a converging style like to
experiment with new ideas, to simulate, and to work with practical applications.

Accommodating (doing and feeling - CE/AE)

The Accommodating learning style is 'hands-on', and relies on intuition rather than
logic. These people use other people's analysis, and prefer to take a practical,
experiential approach. They are attracted to new challenges and experiences, and to
carrying out plans.
They commonly act on 'gut' instinct rather than logical analysis. People with an
accommodating learning style will tend to rely on others for information than carry
out their own analysis. This learning style is prevalent within the general

Educational Implications
Both Kolb's (1984) learning stages and cycle could be used by teachers to critically
evaluate the learning provision typically available to students, and to develop more
appropriate learning opportunities.
Educators should ensure that activities are designed and carried out in ways that
offer each learner the chance to engage in the manner that suits them best. Also,
individuals can be helped to learn more effectively by the identification of their
lesser preferred learning styles and the strengthening of these through the
application of the experiential learning cycle.
Ideally, activities and material should be developed in ways that draw on abilities
from each stage of the experiential learning cycle and take the students through the
whole process in sequence.

Kolb, D. A. (1976). The Learning Style Inventory: Technical Manual. McBer &
Co, Boston, MA.
Kolb, D. A. (1981). Learning styles and disciplinary differences. The modern
American college, 232-255.
Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning
and development (Vol. 1). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Kolb, D. A., & Fry, R. E. (1974). Toward an applied theory of experiential
learning. MIT Alfred P. Sloan School of Management.
Kolb, D. A., Rubin, I. M., & McIntyre, J. M. (1984). Organizational psychology:
readings on human behavior in organizations. Prentice Hall.

How to reference this article:

McLeod, S. A. (2013). Kolb - learning styles. Retrieved from
In the early days of the Association for Experiential Education, it was often noted that
experiential education was experience rich but theory poor. In 1985, the Association
for Experiential Education (AEE) published the first edition of this book to help rectify
the dilemma. We are pleased to introduce the 4th edition of the original text, which
has been re-titled Theory & Practice of Experiential Education.
The relationship between theory and practice in experiential education rests on a
profound creative tension. As we become more theory based in the application of
experiential education, it is essential to maintain the delicate balance between theory
and practice. Theory informs practice, while practice tests and refines theory. This
book is an attempt to offer the richness of theory that clarifies practice.
Since that first edition was published back in 1985, there have been some key
developments in the theory of experiential education, and the editors of this volume
have strived to make this edition reflective of that evolution. The classic chapters
retained from previous editions give the reader a sense of both the timelessness and
progression of ideas about experiential education. Some of the new chapters cover
topics such as multiple intelligence theory, constructivism, brain-based learning
theory, educational reform, and facilitation analysis. Yet others critique how
experiential education is articulated and practiced, offering new theories and
The result is an excellent teaching resource for undergraduate and graduate courses
about education theory and courses specifically in experiential education. It is the
editors hope that educators will make this book their own by using the articles that
work for their teaching style and students in an order that fits their course
Editors: Karen Warren, Ph.D., Denise Mitten, Ph.D.. TA Loeffler, Ph.D. Authors
included in the anthology: Jasper Hunt, Ph.D., Mary Breunig, Ph.D., Dan Garvey,
Ph.D., Jay Roberts, Ph.D., the editors, and more than 40 other EE experts.
4th edition. Paperback, 578 pages, dimensions 6 1/2 x 9 x 2". Released November
2008. ISBN: 978-0-929361-17-8