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    Introduction to academic writing and research


Subject Essay Writing Pages 3 Style APA


An Essay Outline on Kolb’s Experimental Learning Cycle

The Experimental Learning Cycle

The Kolb’s Experimental Learning Cycle is a theoretical approach to different learning styles, which is represented by a typical four-stage cycle on learning. This cycle includes different bases, among them; concrete experience involving acquisition of new experiences in handling different situations one encounters, or for reinterpretation of underlying situation (Kolb, 2014). Reflective observation is the second base of this cycle which explores different inconsistencies that distinguish theoretical understanding from experience. Thirdly, abstract conceptualization is a reflection genre that gives rise to development of new ideas and further aid in modifying of an already existing abstract concept. Finally, active experimentation allows learners to apply class concepts to the outside world for achieving quality results (Konak et al., 2014). The theory further outlines that effective learning is mainly seen through a person’s progression in all the four learning stages.

A related theory on development of learning styles that I will adopt in my essay for comparing and contrasting with Kolb’s experimental learning cycle is theoretical approaches developed by Honey and Mumford. Both Kolb’s theory and one developed by Honey and Mumford outline four distinct styles of learning, which bring out different cycles in learning. They refer to them as quality learning approaches which individuals would prefer implementing for maximization of personal learning skills since different people explore different styles. The two theories point out various factors however impact on choice of one’s preferred style, which include social environment, an individual’s basic cognitive structure and educational experiences. Formation of abstract concepts allow for generalizations for testing hypothesis of the future situation, resulting into development of new experiences. Exploration and implementation of different styles in learning is regarded a newly established strategy to development.

Main contrasting points are also key when contrasting between the two theoretical concepts. Kolb developed four distinct learning styles, which are converging, assimilating, diverging and accommodating. People who adopt converging learning style often solve problems through application of ideas and theories. They often handle technical skills, and find vivid solutions to their questions. The assimilating style employs a concise and logical approach to ideas and concepts regarded more important than people (Konak et al., 2014). They dwell much on clear and precise explanations as opposed to practical opportunities, for adapting a wide range of data for organizing a clear logical format in learning. Accommodating learning style focuses much on intuition than logic through application of analysis of others in taking experimental and practical approaches (Kolb, 2014). They are often interested in facing new challenges when carrying out plans. Finally, the diverging style is employed by ones who perceive concepts differently, meaning they are insensitive when gathering data for problem solving.

On the other hand, Honey and Mumford developed learning styles and preferences which include Activist, Theorist, Pragmatist and Reflector. Activists are people who learn through actions, ensure full involvement in achieving new experiences and employ an open-minded approach for acquisition of knowledge (Manolis et al., 2014). Theorists are learners who understand theoretical actions, through application of concepts, models and facts in learning process. They analyze and synthesis newly acquired information in developing a logical theory. Pragmatists are people who have a task of implementing learning into real world practices. They apply abstract and games on a limited scale, though they often try out experiments on new ideas, apply theoretical and technical strategies in learning (Manolis et al., 2014). Finally, reflectors are people who acquire knowledge by virtue of observing all previous happenings. They mostly stand back, collect data, view experiences with regard to different perspectives and then take time to tackle them for deriving an appropriate conclusion.(2017) study employed, there are very little room for generalizing the study’s findings.  


Kolb, D. A. (2014). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. FT press.

Konak, A., Clark, T. K., & Nasereddin, M. (2014). Using Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle to improve student learning in virtual computer laboratories. Computers & Education, 72, 11-22.

Manolis, C., Burns, D. J., Assudani, R., & Chinta, R. (2013). Assessing experiential learning styles: A methodological reconstruction and validation of the Kolb Learning Style Inventory. Learning and individual differences, 23, 44-52.


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