Part 1: Learning and the Kolb Cycle

Activity 1.2: The Four Phases of the Kolb Cycle


Kolb has developed both a learning theory and the concept of learning styles. The two are closely linked. The process of learning is circular and can be started at any point. Remember learning styles are a combination of the elements. Look at the list of verbs below and consider a variety of learning activities that you have undertaken. For example, learn to drive, learn a language, conduct a psycho-social assessment, etc.

Readings for Reflection

Kolb Cycle Stages and Action Verbs (pdf)
Learning Style (PowerPoint saved as pdf file)
The Experiential Approach: Comparing Theories (pdf)

Quiz: The Kolb Cycle

    Four Stages of Kolb’s Experiential Cycle


    This mini quiz is designed to improve your understanding of the Kolb experiential learning cycle.
    For each clinical training activity below, in what stage of the learning cycle are you asking the student to engage? The stages of the cycle are:

    concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation.

    Simply write in the box the stage of the cycle that matches the clinical training activity described. You will be able to check your answers later on in the module.

    1. You ask a student to observe a client and write an observation report.

    2. You ask a student to compare his observation notes and pick out similarities and differences.

    3. You ask a student to use her observation notes to identify the pathology associated with the symptoms she has recorded.

    4. You ask a student to write out a plan for the next intervention.

    5. You now ask your student to deliver the intervention she planned and submitted to you.

    6. When the student submits the intervention he wishes to provide, you ask him questions that he will answer to substantiate his choice (or approach).

    7. You ask a student to intervene right away.

    8. Once an intervention is over, you ask the student to explain the theory behind the treatment you administered (e.g. the effect of heat on muscle fibres, the effect of the medication injected or the reasons for a particular procedure).

    9. You ask a student to draw up a treatment plan.

    10. You ask a student to identify the client's main problems in the wake of your evaluation.

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    Let’s discuss

    How might you use the Kolb cycle with your students?

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