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June 16, 2010 / compassioninpolitics

Experiential Learning Quotes from Kolb and Others

Kolb and Kolb on Experiential Learning Across the Curriculum:

However, to learn skills outside of their home region, learners need to move to other regions and the learning process for any skill requires the ability to move through the experiencing, reflecting, thinking, and acting cycle. To fully develop the whole person requires an educational culture that promotes diverse learning spaces and locomotion among them.

Human beings naturally make meaning from their experiences through conversation. Yet genuine conversation in the traditional lecture classroom can be extremely restricted or nonexistant.

(I think this is an implicit criticism of the Taylorism which is still embedded in our educational institutions)

What Does Success Look Like

The only true measure of a successful educational model is our students experience of it (Summers, 2003: 64)

President Lawrence Summers Commencement Address at Harvard University in 2003

The Neuroscience of Experiential Learning Cycle

Put into works, the figure illustrates that concrete experiences come through the sensory cortex, reflective observation involves the integrative cortex at the back, creating new abstract concepts occurs in the frontal integrative cortex, and active testing involves the motor brain. In other words, the learning cycle arises from the structure of the brain (Zull 2002: 18-19)

The Art of Changing the Brain: Enriching Teaching by Exploring the Biology of Learning, by James Zull, a biologist and founding director of CWRUs University Center for Innovation in Teaching and Education

Situated Learning Theory on Experiental Learning:

Situated learning theory enriches the learning space concept by reminding us that learning spaces extend beyond the teacher and the classroom. They include socialization into a wider community of practice that involves membership, identity formation, transitioning from novice to expert through mentorship, and experience in the activities of practice, as well as the reproduction and development of the community of practice itself as newcomers replace old-timers.

Dewey on Experiential Learning: Contrasting the Scientist and Artist

The difference between the esthetic and the intellectual is thus one of the place where emphasis falls in the constant rhythm that marks the interaction of the live creature with his surroundings…Because of the comparative remoteness of his end, the scientific worker operates with symbols, words, and mathematical signs. The artist does his thinking in the very qualitative media he works in, and the term lie so close to the object the he is producing that they merge directly into it (Dewey, 1934, 16)

This contrast Kolb is trying to draw from Dewey is a bit confusing, because Kolb and Kolb actually call for a fusion of the artist and scientist without realizing it or making it apparent to the reader (the Kolb model itself is grounded on experimentation and feedback as what drives learning). John Seely Brown seems to make a similar suggestion that the community of practice used by architechts (the artists in this case) for critique and improvement is a better model.

On Strategically Situation Experiential Learning

people grow best where they continuously experience an ingenious blend of challenge and support.

(Robert Kegan, 1994: 42)
The work on Flow confirms this theory.
Source for Experiential Learning Quotes:
Learning Styles and Learning Spaces: Enhancing Experiential Learning in Higher Education by Alice Y Kolb of Experienced Based Learning Systems and David A. Kolb of Case Western Reserve University

Note: Check out the diagram on page 195 which makes the case pretty well, in combination with the above explanation (The Experiential Learning Cycle and Regions of the Cerebral Cortex)

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