Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created

Kolb theorized that “ Learning is the procedure whereby cognition is created through the transmutation of experience ” ( 1984 ; 38 ) . Feedback and experience have played an of import function in furthering acquisition, altering patterns and theories every bit good as altering thoughts severally. Different theories of larning have been put frontward, and among them are the grownup larning theories. This paper will concentrate on one of the theory named Experiential Learning in add-on to discourse the Kolb and Jarvis Experiential Learning Theory, their restrictions or defects every bit good as to review the strengths and failings of the theory. There are two types of experiential larning viz. the one based on life experience, and that which is based in establishment engagement in development of cognition, accomplishments, thoughts and experience in their application. Furthermore, as motive is really indispensable to the acquisition procedure, hence this paper will besides concentrate on the motive to adult acquisition and the barriers to it, in add-on to the forms of larning adopted by grownup scholars.

The Characteristics of Adult Learners

Adult scholars need more engagement during the acquisition procedure because they are autonomous while some of the grownup scholars have gone through diverse experiences and have a wealth of cognition, so they need more chances for duologue among pupils to pull out their cognition and experience. Hence, Experiential Learning is of the importance to understanding grownup acquisition because of the features of grownup scholars. The importance of the Kolb David ‘s work and that of his associate Roger Fry, have played a important function in the constitution of the footing to such statements. Of involvement to Kolb were the procedures of doing sense of concrete experiences, which besides involves use of different manners. However, the plants of Piaget, Dewey and Lewin played an of import function in the preparation of Kolb ‘s thoughts. There have been two major elements of experiential acquisition that have been widely discussed. These include the construct that larning occurs through direct engagement of life events ( Houle, 1980 ; 221 ) and the 2nd construct that type of larning experience sponsored by establishments and involves a opportunity to a scholar to “ get and use cognition, accomplishments and feelings in an immediate and relevant environment ” ( Smith, 2001 ) . Learners in the first case of larning are non sponsored by any establishment but themselves. For illustration, grounds of application of experiential acquisition has focused on the application of developing plans in societal work and instruction. Persons are able to get cognition after traveling through peculiar events in life, and so reflecting on these experiences. Most of the people or all at least learn through life experiences.

The Patterns of Experiential Learning

Kolb theorized the forms of experiential acquisition are within a four phase larning rhythm, which includes concrete experience, observation and contemplation, formation of abstract and proving in new state of affairss. There has been a contention over where the procedure of larning Begins. While Kolb and Fry posited that acquisition could get down from anyplace in the above theorized four elements of the learning rhythm, others have posited that larning Begins through a peculiar action and seeing the effects of the action in the state of affairs in which the action was carried out. Therefore, it was possible to larn what would be expected from the action, if it was repeated at those peculiar state of affairss, and this generalizing may let the grouping of similar events that have similar acquisition experiences. However, a scope of fortunes would be involved to calculate out a connexion between the actions and the associated effects. Persons would understand the general rule that underlies the peculiar case. The above theoretical account focuses on primary experience in experiential acquisition. Current literature has been accused of chiefly concentrating on primary experience in experiential acquisition theory and neglecting secondary experience. Weil and McGill categorized experiential acquisition in four ‘villages ‘ ( 1989 ) . These include the focal point on life and work experience to measure and recognize acquisition, recognizing alteration in constructions through experiential acquisition, focal point on raising group consciousness through experiential acquisition, and personal growing and self-awareness. These four ‘villages ‘ concern primary experience. Linguistic communicating is a channel through which indirect or secondary experience can be attained.

Kolb theorized that persons would move in new fortunes to use the general rule and this application of the action was supposed to be within the scope of generalisation. Harmonizing to Kolb, feedback from the experiences would be used to alter patterns and theories whereas thoughts would be tested by concrete experiences gained from clip to clip ( Kolb 1984: 21-22 ) . The importance of feedback in the acquisition procedure is of import to guarantee that acquisition has taken topographic point. Therefore, the theory by Kolb has a nexus with Piaget ‘s cognitive development. Kolb and Fry identified four basic acquisition manners after developing a acquisition manner stock list ( Kolb, 1976 ) . The stock list would categorise people in either concrete experience and abstract conceptualisation, or active experimentation and brooding observation.

The acquisition manners formulized by the above theoreticians are converger, diverger, learner and obliger. The converger would transport the features of abstract conceptualisation and active experimentation. Convergers would be individuals of narrow involvements, strong to use the thoughts practically, unemotional, and would hold a hypo-deductive logical thinking on specific jobs. The diverger would presume the features of concrete experience and brooding observation, and would be able to hold a strong imaginativeness. In add-on to holding wide cultural involvements, these persons have the ability to see things at different positions, and are interested in people. The learner would be defined by the two features, viz. abstract conceptualisation and brooding observation. The person would execute best in inductive logical thinking in add-on to being interested more in abstract constructs than people. Kolb and Fry besides described these persons as holding a great ability to make theoretical theoretical accounts. The 4th group theorized by Kolb and Fry was the obliger who would transport the features of concrete experience and active experimentation. These have been described as persons will be able to intuitively work out jobs, and when required to respond to immediate fortunes, these persons would make good. The persons have besides been termed as hazard takers and have greatest strength in making things. Kolb and Fry in there development of the acquisition manners challenged the construct that larning could be reduced to one dimension such as intelligence.

Barriers/ Motivation to Experiential Learning

There are several barriers that will impact the execution of experiential acquisition, such as scholars ‘ emotion, as it would impact scholar ‘s motive to take part in the activity. Besides, the design of the activity is really of import as scholars are grownups, they are largely result-oriented and hence, the result of the activities is designed to be utile. Furthermore, the skillfulness of the facilitator is the cardinal barriers if the facilitator can non demo the preparedness and the facilitation skills efficaciously.

Experiential acquisition is besides affected by factors such as the grownup motive to larning. In fact, larning is non merely a component of experiences but besides motive to larning. Motivation of grownup scholars is an of import facet to accomplishing successful grownup instruction. Motivation of the grownup scholar may be explored in consideration of the features of the grownup scholar. Adult scholars are autonomous and independent and hence the procedures with which larning is to be achieved need to further these rules. In this regard, they are more responsible and need counsel to larn and happen cognition on their ain ( Lieb, 1991 ) . The grownup scholar has gone through and accumulated a batch of experiences and cognition and may necessitate that the acquisition environment and larning procedure accommodate these things. Adults will inscribe for prosecuting faculty members and classs while cognizing clearly what they want, and therefore they need to be guided on what to accomplish at the terminal of certain classs before they enroll. Adults are likely to prosecute in activities and procedures, which they see relevancy and hence the acquisition procedure must carry through this. They are practical and need to be shown regard.

Consideration of the grounds why single grownups engage in the acquisition procedure is of import so as to further motive and acquisition. In order to actuate the grownup scholar, there is a demand to see some factors including demand to suit their cognitive involvements such as easing hunt of cognition on their ain. Adult scholars sometimes need to be considered in their quest to achieve relieve of ennui at work and place. The grownup scholar must be shown the connexion of the occupation towards promotion of the ego at the workplace, such as achieve publicity and be able to associate the two. ( Lieb, 1991 ) .

The Strengths and Weaknesses of Experiential Learning

Experiential acquisition can be utilized to planning of grownup acquisition and the rating of the same. Although the theoretical account has been applauded in the of import function it plays in the planning of larning activities and assisting to look into that scholars are engaged, there has been unfavorable judgment of the Kolb ‘s theoretical account of larning with the feeling that it does non further the thought of contemplation in acquisition.

For illustration, I have joined a Team Building Training Workshop held by my workplace before. I found that I could larn what I have experienced during the preparation, as there were many activities and games that could prosecute me. However, I could non associate or use what I have learnt, as some of the scenarios are non wholly the same and the transportation of acquisition is lower than my outlook. Besides, cultural barriers such as work forces are non allowed to touch adult females ‘s manus in some of the states, which will impact the acquisition procedure because some of the foreign scholars are non experiencing comfy to make so during the activity.

As a consequence, it has been criticized that experiential acquisition does non use to all state of affairss theorized in the theoretical account. Alternatively, there was a possibility for options, such as information assimilation and memorisation. It is known that cultural experiences/ conditions have a topographic point in the acquisition procedure. The Kolb theoretical account does non have or gives a small focal point on cultural experiences/ conditions. The theoretical account does non concentrate on the importance of differences in cognitive and manners of communications that are culturally based. There has been thought that the presentation of the thoughts in the theoretical account is instead excessively orderly and simplistic ( and to extent unreal ) because some procedures may happen one time and phases can be jumped. The grade of integrating of the acquisition manners can non be measured by the acquisition manner stock list because the latter deficiencies that capacity ( Tennant, 1997 ) . In add-on, because a wide and broad research base is of import in researching and proving the theoretical account, the theoretical account is hence limited in its dimensions.

While the construct of Kolb can give a linkage between cognition and acquisition, it has been criticized because of limited geographic expedition of cognition. Kolb has merely explored the issue of cognition on a societal psychological science position and does non therefore explore it in deepness. The theory has been criticized for go forthing out the arguments about cognition theorized in the philosophic and societal theory. His conceptualisation of the thought that larning is concerned with bring forthing cognition has been faulted on the consideration of the thought of informed, committed action.

A farther apprehension of experiential acquisition may be indicated in the theory generated by Jarvis ( 1987, 1995 ) and theorizes the different responses to the possible acquisition state of affairs. The theory development involved geographic expedition of the Kolb ‘s theoretical account by a figure of grownups who would use their ain experience of acquisition in the analysis. Non-learning, non-reflective acquisition, and some brooding acquisition were the different paths that were possible in the theoretical account theorized by Jarvis. In non-learning, people were able to interact through patterned behaviours. Persons may neglect to react to a state of affairs of possible acquisition and hence neglect to be engaged in the experiential acquisition procedure. In add-on, it was possible to undergo rejection in the procedure and fail to accomplish or progress experiential acquisition. Non-reflective tendencies included the day-to-day brushs of pre-conscious behaviour as everyone is exposed to experiences on a day-to-day footing that he does non believe about. Practice is besides a phase in non-reflective tendency and focal points on geting physical accomplishments and preparation for a manual business. Non-reflective tendency besides is characterized by memorisation. In this theoretical account, brooding acquisition involved contemplation, which entails giving a consideration and doing an rational determination about it. Persons would besides be able to travel thorough reflective acquisition by holding a brooding pattern in and on action. The conceptualisation by Jarvis besides falls short in the consideration of phase wise flow of things, yet it is important to observe that different things may go on together at one time.


Theory of grownup acquisition is limited and needs geographic expedition to understand. There are many positions of grownup acquisition in theory, including autonomous acquisition, critical contemplation, experiential acquisition and acquisition to larn hold been neglected in theory geographic expedition. The consideration of grownup acquisition as separate from the normal acquisition theory is incorrect and undeserved. This paper chiefly covered the facets of experiential acquisition, and considers the Kolb and Jarvis theory of experiential acquisition. Experiential larning involves the person acquisition through experiences of existent life state of affairs or the acquisition that is fostered by the establishments. The theory of provides of import constituents on how big acquisition may be good accomplished and planned but has some defects. These include restriction in its coverage of issue of cognition and limited research base for the theory. Kolb ‘s theoretical account of experiential acquisition has besides been criticized for deficiency of consideration of contemplation in acquisition. Both the Kolb ‘s and Jarvis ‘ parts have besides been found to fall short of outlooks in that they involve stage-wise development of procedures of larning yet it would be expected that sometimes more than one procedure happens at the same clip and others are skipped. Though the consideration of the grownup larning procedure as being separate from the normal acquisition procedure has been criticized, it is of import to calculate out ways in which grownup larning differs or the features of the procedure or scholars that make it diverge from the normal known acquisition procedure. In order to further larning procedure by the person, it is of import to see the features of the grownup scholar. The grownup scholar is a autonomous person who has already determined what they want from the class they have enrolled into. Again, they are likely to prosecute into activities they see as relevant. Adult scholars have an advanced motivation of larning such as necessitating accomplishing certain makings that will do them be promoted at the workplace, among others, and hence these demands must be understood and incorporated in the acquisition procedure and instruction course of study. Learning procedure does non merely constitute of experiences, but that factors like motive play an of import function in the accomplishment or engagement in larning. Motivation plays an of import function in the acquisition of an grownup. Understanding of the factors that influence motive and its topographic point in acquisition may further grownup instruction. While there are assorted ways through which an grownup scholar may be motivated, other barriers including duties at place, clip bounds among others act as barriers to motive. The best manner to actuate an grownup scholar is to progress the ground for registration into the peculiar class. Experiential acquisition plays an of import function in grownup acquisition.