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Mick Healey Learning Cycles, Learning Styles and Course Design.

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1 Mick Healey Learning Cycles, Learning Styles and Course Design


3 Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory "Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience" Kolb (1984, 38) "a comprehensive theory which offers the foundation for an approach to education and learning as a lifelong process and which is soundly based in intellectual traditions of philosophy and cognitive and social psychology" Zuber-Skerritt (1992a, 98)

4 Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory Concrete Experience (CE) DO Reflective Observation (RO) REFLECT Active Experimentation (AE) PLAN Abstract Conceptualisation (AC) THINK

5 Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory Concrete Abstract X X X

6 Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory Active Reflective XXX

7 Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory Accommodators Divergers ConvergersAssimilators CE AERO AC

8 Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory Divergers - view situations from many perspectives and rely heavily upon brainstorming and generation of ideas Assimilators - use inductive reasoning and have the ability to create theoretical models Convergers - rely heavily on hypothetical- deductive reasoning Accommodators - carry out plans and experiments and adapt to immediate circumstances

9 Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory "The aim is to make the student self-renewing and self-directed; to focus on integrative development where the person is highly developed in each of the four learning modes; active, reflective, abstract and concrete. Here, the student is taught to experience the tension and conflict among these orientations, for it is from these tensions that creativity springs.” Kolb (1984)

10 Application to Learning and Teaching The central practical applications of the theory include: how a session, or a whole course, can be developed in a way that takes students systematically around the whole cycle a consideration of the teaching methods that are particularly valuable at particular stages of the cycle. “It is not enough just to do, and neither is it enough just to think. Nor is it enough simply to do and think. Learning from experience must involve linking the doing and the thinking.” Gibbs (1988, 9)

11 Application to Learning and Teaching In pairs: One read section (pp190-192) from the article and the other read section (pp192-193) Summarise the key points of what you read to your partner Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of applying Kolb to teaching geography in higher education

12 Conclusion Entwistle (1991) argues that teachers should: take full account of the range of learning styles that any class or group of students will exhibit recognise that the teachers' own learning styles are likely to shape their teaching and the approaches they adopt to course design avoid the dangers of allowing one particular approach to teaching to exclude the others

13 Conclusion Crucially, Kolb's ideas still allow teachers to emphasise the particular stages of the cycle, which fit with their own learning and teaching styles, as long as they are careful to ensure that they take students right round the entire cycle

14 Some Principles of Course Design Apply idea of constructive alignment Allow for different learning styles Plan to take students around the learning cycle several times during the course Give as much attention to what the students will do as what you are going to do

15 Designing a Course Syllabus Working in pairs: Look at the two examples of course syllabi To what extent do they follow the suggested principles of course design? Contrast their strengths and weaknesses

16 A Concluding Round In your group each person should complete one of the following sentence stems: ONE way in which I intend to use learning circles and styles is to … ONE thing I intend to introduce / change in the way I design my courses … ONE thing I want to say is...

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