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The Kolb Model, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 684

Essay

Many observers might consider David Kolb’s theories of learning to be among the most important in the history of modern education. Kolb revolutionized the way that both students and the learning process are received. He therefore has also influenced modern notions of teaching. The Kolb Method will continue to influence educational methods into the near and distant future.  One of the most important ideas that was forwarded by Kolb is the idea that there are different methods of learning, and also different types of learners.  Because there are various ways of learning and differing types of learners, Kolb, as pointed out by “theorized that people develop preferences for learning in the same way they develop preferences for management, leadership, and negotiation.” (Hurst-Wajszczuk, 2010). Furthermore, this uniqueness in learning process applied to all forms of learning from mathematics to singing.

In the early days of the program, the Kolb method as primarily understood as a way of organizing students into types of learners. There were four broad categories into which all types of learners could be categorized. From these types, a system of experiential instruction could be devised, theoretically, for any subject in any environment. As the Kolb Method became more and more prevalent among theorists and educators, its pragmatic applications began to be understood. The present use of the Kolb Method is to strengthen the role of teachers and curriculums in all types of classrooms and regarding all disciplines and skills.

Basically, what Kolb sought to do was to bring “the role of experience in learning” to the forefront of educational theory. Kolb further differentiated the process of experiential learning through the use of “four processes of active experimentation, concrete experience, reflective observation, and abstract conceptualization” (Bull, Dimitrova & Brna, 2002, p. 183). Because some students will be more receptive to certain types of learning processes, the Kolb Method is designed to conform to an inclusive approach, one that offers something for each kind of student. The Kolb approach  is designed to be incorporated as a hands-on method of teaching. One of the greatest virtues of Kolb’s process is that actual practice is the best way to understand the capacity of the method.  As Hurst-Wajszczuk pointed out in their article “Do They Really Get It? Using the Kolb Lsi to Reach Every Student” (2010) the learning style index  employed in Kolb teaching is designed to identify each student’s best learning method. Additionally, as the article indicates: “Classroom teaching is perhaps the most practical way to employ knowledge of Kolb to engage every style of learner.” (Hurst-Wajszczuk, 2010). By “engaging every style of learner” the Kolb method helps to ensure that even the most difficult students are provided with a personal interface with the learning experience.  Its simultaneous adaptability and practicality means the Kolb Model is certain to evolve as an important aspect of future education. In the future it may be that each student in any given classroom will be able to utilize a complete curriculum and teaching method that is catered specifically to his or her learning type.

An example of how the rudimentary principles of the Kolb Method are already evolving through hands-on application is the ” 4MAT system” which was developed by “A state juvenile correctional system and a state educational district” in order to facilitate learning among a challenging demographic of students.  The system relies on  “research by David Kolb and others on the differences in how people learn”  (Thacker & Kearney, 1994). The basic ideas behind the Kolb Method is to understand not only how people learn, but why they learn the way they learn as individuals.  It is this latter consideration that marks the Kolb theories of education as being radical and profoundly influential on past, present, and future styles of education.

References

Brna, P., Baker, M., Stenning, K., & Tiberghien, A. (Eds.). (2002). The Role of Communication in Learning to Model. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Hurst-Wajszczuk, K. (2010). Do They Really Get It? Using the Kolb Lsi to Reach Every Student. Journal of Singing, 66(4), 421+.

Thacker, C., & Kearney, G. (1994, December). Learning Model Facilitates Youths’ Academic Success. Corrections Today, 56, 86+.

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