Experiential Learning Theory (ELT) provides a holistic
model of the learning process and a multilinear model of
adult development, both of which are consistent with
what we know about how people learn, grow, and develop.
-David A. Kolb(Theory Originator)
•David A. Kolb
•Richard E. Boyatzis
• Concrete Experience(CE)-Learner actively experiences
and activity (lab sessions,field work, etc.)
• Reflective Observation(RO)-Learner consciously reflects
on that experience.
• Abstract Conceptualization(AC)-Learn tries to
conceptualize a theory about that experience, and what
• Active Experimentation(AE)-Learner tries to plan to
test the theory on what they had observed.
•Kolb’s ELT is a cyclical theory where a learner
may start at any point in the cycle.
•Kolb has identified 4 different learning styles that
are heightened under the Experiential Learning
Theory, known as the Learning Style Inventory
Learning Style Inventory
• Diverging-dominantly use CE and RO. These types of learners
view “concrete situations” from many different viewpoints. They
learn best when working in groups, listening with open minds, and
receiving personalized feedback.
• Assimilating-dominantly use AC and RO. These types of learners
can take a wide range of information and put it into a more logical,
concise form. They learn best through readings, lectures, viewing
analytical models, and having time to think things through.
Learning Style Inventory
• Converging-dominantly use AC and AE. These types of learners
find practical uses for ideas and theories. They learn best through
experimenting with new ideas, simulations, lab assignments and
• Accommodating-dominantly use CE and AE. These types of
learners favor “hands-on experience.” They learn best when
working with others to finish assignments, set goals, field work,
and testing ways to complete a project.
Classroom Implications for
• Experiential learning is best focused on higher
education-for students in colleges and universities.
• Professors can provide quality lectures, thorough
readings, and means to quality group work in a college
• Through technology, professors can teach online
classes, create simulations, provide online and technical
lab work for students, and virtual field work for fields
Classroom Implications For
• College students become more independent than they once
were, making the ELT more applicable to the student,
rather that the teacher.
• A student can learn with subtle facilitation-such as online
classes, readings/lectures, lab sessions, and field work.
None of these take one-on-one facilitation.
• Technology can play a great part in a learner’s experience
with ELT such as online classes, etc. Virtual field work,
online training, and model simulation can be used.
In My Classroom...
• As an Elementary Ed major, I chose to research an upper level learning theory. This
is how my students will learn in the future. As a teacher, it is my respondsibility to
educate students in the best way possible so that they may attain a quality
education. To teach with the ELT model at a young age may be helpful- I can utilize
group work and hands-on experience so that my students may learn through doing.
Cognitive reflection of the activity will allow the student to understand what they
have learned through such experience.
• For example, I could assign a group science project on which soil helps plants grow
faster. Through this hands-on assignment, the students will not only perform the
experiment, but learn how and what it takes for a plant to grow.