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Adult learning specialist, David Kolb (1984), has described

this learning process as a four-phase cycle in which the learner: (1) does something concrete or has a specific experience which provides a basis for (2) the learners observation and reflection on the experiences and their own response to it. These observations are then (3) assimilated into a conceptual framework or related to other concepts in the learners past experience and knowledge from which implications for action can be derived; and (4) tested and applied in different situations.

Kolbs Learning Cycle

1.EXPERIENCING: Concrete Experience/ immersing oneself in the doing of a task: Is the first stage in which individual, team or organization simply carries out the task assigned.The engaged person is usually not reflecting on the task this time but carrying it out with intention.

2.REFLECTION: REFLECTIVE OBSERVATION : Involves stepping back from task involvement and reviewing what has been done and experienced.

3.CONCEPTUALISATION: Abstract conceptualization: Involves interpreting the events that have been noticed and understanding the relationships among them. 4.PLANNING Enables taking the new understanding and translates it into predictions about what is likely to happen next or what actions should be taken to refine the way task is handled.


Processing Applying


One of your main functions as a training manager is to

provide your jobholders with fresh experiences and then facilitate these opportunities to make sure they complete the cycle and gain maximum benefit from the opportunity. A good trg mgr makes a habit of helping the job holder to systematically think about past events, analyzing what was learned from them and anticipating what they could do differently.

Peter Honey and Alan Mumford have identified four

Learning Styles that complements the stages of the Kolbs model.

1.The Activists 2.The Reflectors 3.The Theorists 4.The Pragmatists

THE ACTIVISTS: Active Experimentation

Activists enjoy here and now and are dominated by current experiences. They

enjoy working with others but tend to dominate, doing too much themselves and hogging the limelight.

They tend to learn best from relatively short activities that involve immediate

involvement in active tasks. They dislike having to listen to long lectures of how to do things or follow instructions.

Training approach- problem solving, small gr. Discussions, peer feedback and

homework are helpful

2.THE REFLECTORS: Reflective Observation

Learners observe and reflect on their experience from different

angles or viewpoints. They like to stand back and observe, collect data and think things through & analyse things carefully before coming to any conclusions.

They will prefer to take a back seat in the discussion and enjoy

listening to other before making their own points. They dislike being forced into limelight, being made to act as a leader or make a presentation.

Training approach: logs, journals and brainstorming

3.THE THEORISTS: Abstract conceptualization

Learner must be able to incorporate their observations into valid and

rationally based theories. They like to analyse and synthesise and produce models and systems which combine disparate facts and fit them into rational schemes. They like to work through situations step by step. They tend to be perfectionists and reject anything intuitive that does not fit with their logical approach.
They are similar to reflectors but place a greater emphasis on a need to

place their learning in the context of a model or theory & feel uncomfortable if the activity is unstructured or presented in a disorganized way .or where they are not intellectually stretched.

Training approach: Lecture, papers, Case studies, theory readings and

4.THE PRAGMATISTS: Concrete Experience

How can I apply this in practice? They involve themselves fully in new

experiences .They are interested in experimenting by applying new techniques. They are the type of people who return from courses and want to try out the new ideas straight away. They like to get on with things and act quickly and confidently and have a tendency to opt for a first expedient solution.

They need events where they are given the opportunity to try skills out

and receive feedback on their effectiveness but will be turned off by purely theoretical learning. Activities should apply skills

Training approach: laboratories , field work, Peer feedback is helpful


It is important if we are to develop ourselves and our

staff in the workplace, that we are aware of the differences between peoples learning styles. It is also important that we are able to recognize our preferred learning style as that will probably affect the way we develop our staff.


Strengths: Flexible and open-minded Happy to be exposed to new situations Optimistic about anything new and unlikely to resist change Weaknesses: Tendency to take immediate, obvious action without thinking Often takes unnecessary risks Tendency to do too much themselves and hog the limelight Rush into action without sufficient preparation Get bored with implementations/consolidation


Strengths: Careful Thorough and methodical Thoughtful Good at listening to others and assimilating information Rarely jumps to conclusions Weaknesses:

Tendency to hold back from direct participation Slow to make up their mind and reach decisions Tendency to be too cautious and not take enough risks Not assertive, they tend not to be too forthcoming and have little small talk


Strengths: Logical thinkers Rational and objective Good at asking probing questions Disciplined approach


Restricted in lateral thinking Low tolerance for uncertainty, disorder and ambiguity Intolerant of anything, subjective or intuitive Full of oughts, and musts


Strengths: Keen to test things out in practice Practical, down-to-earth, realistic Business-like, gets straight to the point Technique oriented

Weaknesses: Tendency to reject anything without obvious application

Not very interested in theory or basic principles

Tendency to seize on the first expedient solution to a problem On balance, task oriented, not people oriented