Kolb’s Learning Styles Model

Permaculture students come from all walks of life and everyone has their own way of receiving and processing the new information, skills and ideas. On Rosemary Morrow’s teacher training courses an essential part of the content is familiarising with Kolb’s  Experiential Learning Theory and the four different styles of how people learn that he’s identified.

Kolb proposed that learning is a combination of both how we approach a task and how we respond to and assimilate the experience. In approaching a task (processing) we have a preference for either doing or watching, and in responding to the experience we have a preference for either feeling or thinking. The combination of these preferences creates four main learning styles.

For example, a person with a dominant learning style of “doing” rather than “watching” the task, and “feeling” rather than “thinking” about the experience, will have a learning style which combines and represents those processes, namely an “Accommodating” learning style, in Kolb’s terminology.

The four learning styles are:

  1. Diverging (preference for feeling and watching – CE/RO)
  2. Assimilating (preference for thinking and watching – AC/RO)
  3. Converging (preference for thinking and doing – AC/AE)
  4. Accommodating (preference for feeling and doing – CE/AE)

Learning styles poster good

Knowing a student’s (and your own) learning style enables learning to be orientated according to the preferred method. That said, everyone responds to and needs the stimulus of all types of learning styles to one extent or another. It is a matter of tailoring the experience to best fit with the given situation and a student’s learning style preferences.

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When the lessons are designed to accommodate all different styles of learning through diverse selection of teaching methods, exercises etc in every session, it is easier for the students to receive the information and process it in a way that it is available for them when it is needed.

The attached pdf file will describe some characteristics of the four different types of learners as defined by Kolb. Often peoples learning styles are combinations of the styles presented. The link below will give more detailed information about Kolb’s experiential learning theory

Learning styles table and graphic

[1] http://www.jcu.edu.au/wiledpack/modules/fsl/JCU_090344.html#_Kolb%27s_learning_styles_1