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Background. Becoming an experiential educator involves more than just being afacilitator or matching learning style with teaching style. Experiential educationis a complex relational process that involves balancing attention to the learner and tothe subject matter while also balancing reflection on the deep meaning of ideas with theskill of applying them.Aim. To describe a dynamic matching model of education based on Experiential LearningTheory and to create a self-assessment instrument for helping educators understandtheir approach to education.Method. A dynamic matching model for "teaching around the learning cycle" describesfour roles that educators can adopt to do so-facilitator, subject expert, standardsetter/evaluator, and coach. A self-assessment instrument called the EducatorRole Profile was created to help educators understand their use of these roles.Results. Research using the Educator Role Profile indicates that to some extent educatorsdo tend to teach the way they learn, finding that those with concrete learning stylesare more learner-centered, preferring the facilitator role; while those with abstractlearning styles are more subject-centered preferring the expert and evaluator roles.Conclusion. A model for the practice of dynamic matching of educator roles, learnerstyle, and subject matter can aid in the planning and implementation of educationalexperiences. With practice, both learners and educators can develop the flexibility touse all educator roles and learning styles to create a more powerful and effective processof teaching and learning-in Mary Parker Follett's words to, ". . . free the energies of the human spirit . . . the highest potentiality of all human association.".
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DOI: 10.1177/1046878114534383
2014 45: 204Simulation Gaming
Alice Y. Kolb, David A. Kolb, Angela Passarelli and Garima Sharma
On Becoming an Experiential Educator: The Educator Role Profile
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DOI: 10.1177/1046878114534383
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Article
On Becoming an Experiential
Educator: The Educator
Role Profile
Alice Y. Kolb1, David A. Kolb1,
Angela Passarelli2, and Garima Sharma3
Abstract
Background. Becoming an experiential educator involves more than just being a
facilitator or matching learning style with teaching style. Experiential education
is a complex relational process that involves balancing attention to the learner and to
the subject matter while also balancing reflection on the deep meaning of ideas with the
skill of applying them.
Aim. To describe a dynamic matching model of education based on Experiential Learning
Theory and to create a self-assessment instrument for helping educators understand
their approach to education.
Method. A dynamic matching model for “teaching around the learning cycle” describes
four roles that educators can adopt to do so—facilitator, subject expert, standard-
setter/evaluator, and coach. A self-assessment instrument called the Educator
Role Profile was created to help educators understand their use of these roles.
Results. Research using the Educator Role Profile indicates that to some extent educators
do tend to teach the way they learn, finding that those with concrete learning styles
are more learner-centered, preferring the facilitator role; while those with abstract
learning styles are more subject-centered preferring the expert and evaluator roles.
Conclusion. A model for the practice of dynamic matching of educator roles, learner
style, and subject matter can aid in the planning and implementation of educational
experiences. With practice, both learners and educators can develop the flexibility to
1Experience Based Learning Systems, Kaunakakai, HI, USA
2College of Charleston, SC, USA
3University of Western Ontario, London, Canada
Corresponding Author:
Alice Y. Kolb, Experience Based Learning Systems, 75 Ulua Road, HC01 Box 124, Kaunakakai, HI 96748,
USA.
Email: dak5@msn.com
534383SAGXXX10.1177/1046878114534383Simulation & GamingKolb et al.
research-article2014
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Kolb et al. 205
use all educator roles and learning styles to create a more powerful and effective process
of teaching and learning—in Mary Parker Follett’s words to, “. . . free the energies of the
human spirit . . . the highest potentiality of all human association.”
Keywords
coach, dynamic matching model, educator roles, evaluator, experiential learning, experiential
learning theory, facilitator, Kolb Learning Style Inventory 4.0, learning flexibility, learning
relationships, learning style, standard-setter, subject matter expert, teaching style
As experiential, learner-centered education has gained widespread acceptance in
the 21st century (Prince & Felder, 2006; Slavich & Zimbardo, 2012), increasing
numbers of educators are considering or experimenting with experiential learning
practices such as service learning (Bielefeldt, Dewoolkar, Caves, Berdanier, &
Paterson, 2011; Brower, 2011), problem-based learning (Bethell & Morgan, 2011;
Gurpinar, Bati, & Tetik, 2011), action learning (Francis et al., 2011), adventure
education (Fuller, 2012; Timken & McNamee, 2012), and simulation and gaming
(Schaefer et al., 2011; Shields, Zawadzki, & Johnson, 2011; Taylor, Backlund, &
Niklasson, 2012).
Beyond these approaches commonly associated with experiential education, expe-
riential learning theory (ELT) is being used extensively by experiential educators as a
guide for practice in at least 30 fields and academic disciplines (A. Y. Kolb & Kolb,
2013, Chapter 7). The principles and concepts of experiential learning theory have
been used widely to develop and deliver programs in K-12 education (McCarthy,
1996), undergraduate education (Mentkowski, 2000), and professional education
(Boyatzis, Cowen, & Kolb, 1995; Reese, 1998).
In simulation and gaming work, debriefing has become increasingly important to
enhance learning for game participants. Crookall (2010) emphasizes that “learning
comes from the debriefing, not from the game. Debriefing is the processing of the
game experience to turn it into learning” (p. 907). Since Donald Thatcher’s (1990)
foundational article on debriefing using the experiential learning cycle, gaming educa-
tors have structured debriefing to help learners reflect on their experiences and obser-
vations in the game, share them with others, crystallize conclusions, and generalize
implications for other settings.
The journey to become an experiential educator can be challenging, surprising,
frustrating, and ultimately rewarding as the following examples illustrate:
One teacher said, “Actually, teaching was easier before I learned about experi-
ential learning. My main focus was to collect and organize my course material
and present it clearly. I had never thought much about how the students were
reacting and their thoughts about the material.”
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206 Simulation & Gaming 45(2)
A gaming educator stressed, “. . . the courage to let the simulation flow,
whether the students are making a mess of it or not, or making wrong or
unwise decisions. He or she must learn not to interfere . . . It should be said
from experience that this role, which combines that of manager/organizer,
facilitator, and learner, is a very difficult one to assume. It can, in the early
stages . . . be very threatening but it is, in the end, very effective and fulfill-
ing” (Thatcher, 1990, p. 271).
An experienced teacher reported, “I was beginning to get really bored present-
ing the same material year after year. Experiential learning has opened up con-
versations with the students about their experience and ideas and now I am
actually learning new things along with them.”
A professor at university in the Middle East contacted us on our website saying
that he had read the articles on experiential learning there and was seeking
advice about how to apply these ideas in his university. He described how stu-
dents and faculty alike followed the traditional lecture, memorize, and test pro-
cess with little participation, questioning, or independent inquiry. “I worked up
the courage to experiment with Dewey’s ideas about participation in my class,
but to my dismay, after 20 minutes, I found myself drifting back into the lecture
mode where students seemed more comfortable.”
An organization behavior professor at an undergraduate college adopted a text-
book based on experiential learning (Osland, Kolb, Rubin, & Turner, 2007)
using the experiential exercises in it to experiment with teaching experientially.
Initially, students were hesitant with the new format that involved students
working in learning groups, discussing pre-class work in preparation for in-
class exercises. However, as the semester progressed, the professor noticed that
the students’ outlook dramatically improved. They became more engaged in the
exercises. The professor noted, “I was able to act as their guide to learning the
material, which they then took ownership of.” She describes students’ involve-
ment in the experiential exercises as enabling them to more fully understand
key concepts, such that sometime later, the students would recall the experi-
ences and their learning with ease.
In this article, we propose a framework based on ELT (D. A. Kolb, 1984; A. Y. Kolb
& Kolb, 2013) called the Educator Role Profile (ERP) that provides a holistic, dynamic,
relationship-based approach to becoming an experiential educator. We begin with an
analysis of prescriptions from the educational literature for the experiential educator,
followed by a description of ELT and the ERP framework that shows how limitations
of these prescriptions can be addressed. Next, the creation of the ERP self-assessment
instrument is described along with psychometric reliability and validity data. Finally,
we show how educators can use a dynamic matching model of teaching around the
learning cycle, shifting their educator role to adapt to learning style and learning
content.
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Kolb et al. 207
Facilitation and Matching as Guides for the Experiential
Educator
The educational literature offers confusing, contradictory, and misleading guidance
for those who seek to change their role as an educator and become an experiential
educator. In particular, both advocates and critics foster two widespread characteriza-
tions of experiential, learner-centered education that are inadequate:
1. Experiential education requires that the educator adopt a non-directive facilita-
tor teaching style to help learners learn from direct experiences.
2. To be learner-centered requires matching teaching style with the learner’s
learning style.
Although both of these characterizations contain some truth, they offer over-simpli-
fied advice for those who wish to apply experiential learning principles in the com-
plex, personal, and deeply human teaching/learning relationship.
The Experiential Educator as Facilitator
Experiential learning is often posed as a sharply contrasting approach to traditional
education where a teacher is a subject matter expert who transmits information and
knowledge to the student. This “outside-in” approach is contrasted with the “inside-
out” approach of experiential learning that seeks to tap the internal interest and intrin-
sic motivation of learners and building on their prior knowledge and experience. The
educator’s role is to facilitate this process of “drawing out” (the root meaning of the
word educate) by creating a hospitable safe space for learners to reflect on and make
meaning from their experiences. Facilitators believe that learners can learn on their
own and that their role is to remove obstacles and create conditions where learners can
do so. Their role is not to instruct, provide answers and personal advice, or tell people
what they should learn.
The process of facilitation has deep intellectual roots in the “trainer” role of Lewin’s
group dynamics training (see D. A. Kolb, 1984, Chapter 1), Carl Rogers’ (1951) non-
directive approach to counseling, and inductive approaches to teaching based on
Piaget’s constructivism (Prince & Felder, 2006). For example, Heim (2012) articulates
the five basic principles of Rogers’ approach and applied them to small group facilita-
tion in the humanities:
A non-directive approach to leadership that facilitates learners to take respon-
sibility for their own learning.
Setting a growth promoting climate that is psychologically safe.
Non-judgmental facilitation that patiently accepts the group where it is.
Reflective listening that restates what a person is saying in order to understand
its meaning.
Positive regard that values and respects the learners and their contributions.
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208 Simulation & Gaming 45(2)
Nonetheless, facilitation has been derisively characterized by critics of experiential
learning as programs of “the blind leading the blind” led by “facipulators” who pursue
hidden power agendas. The role of facilitator is often parodied with phrases like “What
I hear you saying” or dodging questions with “What do you think?”
A more serious scholarly critique by Kirschner, Sweller, and Clark (2006) argues
that minimal guidance techniques—discovery learning, problem-based learning,
inquiry learning, constructivist learning, and experiential learning—are not effective
educational strategies. Their argument is purely a cognitive one based on research on
long- and short-term memory suggesting that “If nothing has changed in long term
memory, nothing has been learned” (Kirschner et al., 2006, p. 77). They present guided
learning as the most efficient way to enter information into long-term memory while
minimal guidance techniques present a heavy working memory cognitive load that is
detrimental to learning. Their cognitive critique of minimal guidance techniques is not
particularly persuasive because they do not consider contemporary neuroscience
research on learning that has a more positive view of the value of non-directive facili-
tation of active learning; such as Zull’s (2002, 2011) analysis of brain structure and the
experiential learning cycle or research on the importance of episodic versus declara-
tive memory (Knapp & Benton, 2006; Tulving, 1972, 1983).
More importantly, they do not consider an issue that advocates of experiential
learning consider to be a major benefit of the facilitator approach to education: moti-
vation to learn which answers the question, “Why should I learn this?” (McCarthy,
1996, 2000). The term “unguided learning” does not exactly convey the commitment
and caring that many facilitators put into “turning students on” to learning. These
shortcomings notwithstanding, the article reviews a number of empirical studies that
lend support to the blind leading the blind characterization of facilitation. These stud-
ies show that novice and intermediate learners may lack the learning strategies and
proper schemas to integrate new information into their prior knowledge and thus learn
less in minimal guidance situations while high aptitude learners learn as much or more
in the minimal guidance versus guided situations.
The simple notion that to become an experiential educator, one must become a non-
directive facilitator who eschews lectures, evaluation, and advice is an oversimplifica-
tion of the complexities of the educator/learner relationship. The techniques of
facilitation such as debriefing learning experiences, drawing out and building on the
prior knowledge of learners, and facilitating a climate of trust and open communica-
tion are, but one facet of a holistic process of learning from experience that also
includes expert knowledge input, evaluation, and coaching on learning strategies.
Matching Teaching Style and Learning Style
Another over-simplified prescription for the would-be experiential educator is that
they should match their teaching style and methods to the learning styles of the learner.
With the emerging popularity of learner-centered education in the early 1970s, the
concept of learning style became a popular way to recognize the uniqueness of the
individual learner. This multi-dimensional learner uniqueness is evidenced by the fact
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Kolb et al. 209
that, since Kolb coined the term in the late 1960s to distinguish styles of learning from
experience from cognitive styles (D. A. Kolb, Rubin, & McIntyre, 1971), there are by
now nearly 100 established learning style frameworks and assessments. They assess a
wide spectrum of human individuality—cognitive styles, preferences for sense modal-
ities, Jungian personality types, study strategies, instructional preferences, preferences
for learning alone in groups, and so on. The theory base and research evidence for
these different learning style frameworks vary widely. For these reasons, it is not a
good idea to lump these distinct approaches together in one general concept of learn-
ing style as is the tendency of most contemporary reviewers. Scott, for example,
decries this diversity of approaches to individuality in learning. “To speak of ‘learning
styles’ is thus an attempt to shoehorn an eclectic mix of theories into one category in
which they patently do not fit” (Scott, 2010, p. 6). She then proceeds to do exactly that
in her critique of the ineffectiveness of the concept in general.
That being said, with the exception of the Kolb Learning Style Inventory (KLSI)
based on ELT, the learning style models do share a couple of general characteristics.
They see learning styles as fixed traits or personality characteristics. Scott, citing
Dweck (2008), argues that this is an entity approach to ability that promotes stereotyp-
ing and labeling rather than a process approach that emphasizes developmental poten-
tial and contextual adaptation. Also, surprisingly, none are based on a comprehensive
theory of learning. The dimensions of individuality that they assess are hypothesized
to influence learning, but how the dimension connected to the learning process is not
made explicit. An individual may prefer to work alone or in a group, but how is this
preference related to learning?
Willingham (2005) provides an example of the problems that a trait-based learning
style measure that is not related to a theory of learning faces with the matching teach-
ing and learning style approach. The VAK measures individual differences in prefer-
ences for visual, auditory, and kinesthetic sense modalities. Although reliable
individual differences exist in preference/ability for these modalities, “For the vast
majority of education, vision and audition are usually just vehicles that carry the
important information teachers want students to learn.” However, the process of learn-
ing usually involves storing information in memory in terms of meaning, independent
of any modality. His review of studies that match sensory modality with instruction
concludes, “We can say that the possible effects of matching instructional modality to
a student’s modality strength have been extensively studied and have yielded no posi-
tive evidence.”
The idea that to be learner-centered means that educational methods should be tai-
lored to meet the unique needs of the learner makes so much sense that research for
these specific aptitude/treatment interactions or ATI’s predates the concept of learning
style by many years beginning with Cronbach in 1957. Their comprehensive review of
ATI research 20 years later (Cronbach & Snow, 1977) found few significant ATI’s
which they attributed to inadequate treatments and methodologies. Nonetheless,
researchers persisted in the ATI search and ultimately have identified at least one ATI
that has been somewhat reliability replicated, namely, that high ability students per-
form better in low structure learning environments than in highly structured teaching
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210 Simulation & Gaming 45(2)
situations while the reverse is true for low ability students. They perform better in high
structure versus low structure learning environments. However, some ambiguity exists
in the ability/structure research as Kirschner et al. (2006) were able to argue that strong
guidance was as beneficial as minimal guidance for high aptitude learners.
In a recent widely publicized article, Pashler, McDaniel, Rohrer, and Bjork (2008)
apply the ATI methodology to assess evidence for the application of learning style
concepts in educational practice. In fact, they devote most of the article to proper ATI
research design and interpretation of regression interaction terms, including sections
that review of ATI studies and PTI (personality/treatment interactions), both of which
they begin by saying are “a separate issue from the validity of learning style measures”
(Pashler et al., 2008, p. 113).
Their review of learning style research involved “scouring the literature,” which
they describe as “vast” including “several thousand articles and dozens of books” for
learning style articles which meet the ATI design and crossover interaction criteria
they defined. Although their article is sub-titled concepts and evidence, their review of
concepts is limited to publisher websites and marketing brochures rather than schol-
arly articles describing the many learning style frameworks. Screening research that
met their criteria resulted in four studies—one with positive results (which they dis-
counted for other reasons) and three that met the screening criteria, but reported insig-
nificant crossover interactions. Two of the latter studies compared visual versus
auditory modalities and one used the Felder Index of Learning Styles. They actually
found one other study with positive ATI crossover interaction by Bostrom, Olfman,
and Sein (1990) that used the KLSI showing that concrete learners performed better
with analogical models while abstract learners performed better when trained with
conceptual models. It is not clear why this positive study was only included in a foot-
note. They conclude the results of their rigorous screening by saying “these negative
results, in conjunction with the virtual absence of positive findings, lead us to con-
clude that any application of learning styles in classrooms is unwarranted” (p. 112,
emphasis added).
This sweeping conclusion is clearly unwarranted given the approach taken to eval-
uate the learning style literature. While their analysis does show the lack of any robust
positive effect on performance of matching educational treatments with learning style,
the learning style literature includes many other applications of learning style in the
classroom. Critics including Perini and Silver (Varlas, 2010) argue that style assess-
ments have other uses:
. . . In our experience, learning-style assessments have proven to be wonderful tools for
promoting conversations about learning, building teachers’ and students’ metacognitive
capacities, increasing student engagement, and helping teachers find hooks into content
for struggling students. We’ve also found benefits for differentiation: teachers who
assess their own and students’ styles are typically more willing and able to implement a
wide variety of instructional strategies in their classrooms . . . Along with Bernice
McCarthy and David Kolb, and supported by Robert Sternberg’s research, we’ve long
argued that teaching to the full range of styles is far better and more consistently leads
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Kolb et al. 211
to higher achievement across grade and content levels than confining students to a single
style of instruction. (p. 2)
Strangely enough, even Pashler and colleagues (2008) seem to agree to some
extent:
Furthermore, it is undoubtedly the case that a particular student will sometimes benefit
from having a particular kind of course content presented in one way versus another. One
suspects that educators’ attraction to the idea of learning styles partly reflects their
(correctly) noticing how often one student may achieve enlightenment from an approach
that seems useless for another student. (p. 116)
They then go on to say,
There is, however a great gap from such heterogeneous responses to instructional
manipulations—whose reality we do not dispute—to the notion that presently available
taxonomies of student types offer any valid help in deciding what kind of instruction to
offer each individual. (Pashler et al., 2008, p. 116)
Integrating Scientific Knowledge and Practical Experience
The apparent contradiction in the quotations above is puzzling. They say that it is
“undoubtedly the case” that educators “correctly” notice and respond to learning
style differences in their students, but say that learning style taxonomies do not “offer
any valid help in deciding what kind of instruction to offer each individual.” Pashler
gives one clue in an interview that is given to the Chronicle of Higher Education
(Glenn, 2009):
Lots of people are selling tests and programs for customizing education that completely
lack the kind of experimental evidence that you would expect for a drug. Now maybe the
FDA model isn’t always appropriate for education—but that’s a conversation we need to
have. (p. 1)
He as well as the other authors whom we have reviewed so far embrace a paradigm for
educational improvement that is based on the randomized controlled trial “gold stan-
dard” of research in the natural sciences.
Yet the treatments in education are not uniform pills, but instruction carried out by
unique teachers in relationship with equally unique students, influenced by a wide
variety of contexts. The findings of scientific research must be implemented by educa-
tors integrating scientific knowledge and practical experience. Edelbring (2012)
describes this process with a quotation from John Dewey (1929):
Dewey argues against educational science providing recipes to educators, and furthermore
reinforces the artistry responsibility of the teacher to use available science in conjunction
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212 Simulation & Gaming 45(2)
with situational knowledge: “It is very easy for science to be regarded as a guarantee that
goes with the sale of goods rather than as a light to the eyes and a lamp to the feet.” (p. 15)
. . . knowledge is therefore not aimed at being directly applied in practice, but interpreted
and enriched by the person taking part of it. The richness is produced when readers (such
as educators and other researchers) understand the results from both the perspective they
were created in and from their own culture of practice. The perspective of the researcher
and readers coincide towards a pragmatic end in an enriching process similar to the
fusion of experiences of the author and reader in interpreting cultural understanding of
texts (Gadamer, 1975, 2004). (p. 18)
Experiential Learning Theory
We have described the limitations of the facilitator role alone or teaching by matching
teaching style and learning style as guides for becoming an experiential educator.
Experiential Learning Theory (ELT) provides a comprehensive framework to guide
the experiential educator in enhancing learning and development. The ELT concepts
of the learning cycle and learning style suggest what might be called a dynamic match-
ing model of “teaching around the learning cycle” where learners regardless of their
style are sometimes matched with the learning activity and are sometimes challenged
to stretch themselves to use a less preferred style. In this approach, educators must
adapt their role to help learners move around the cycle—moving from Facilitator, to
Subject Matter Expert, to Standard-Setter and Evaluator, and to Coach.
ELT draws on the work of prominent 20th century scholars—notably John Dewey,
Kurt Lewin, Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, William James, Carl Jung, Paulo Freire, Carl
Rogers, and Mary Parker Follett (Figure 1). They all gave experience a central role in
their theories of human learning and development, developing a holistic model of the
experiential learning process and a multi-dimensional model of adult development.
Several also played central roles in the development of inquiry methods that integrate
scientific knowledge with practitioner experience as described above. William James
and John Dewey founded the philosophy of pragmatism and Gestalt theorists Kurt
Lewin and Mary Parker Follett developed action research.
ELT as described in Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning
and Development (D. A. Kolb, 1984) is built on six propositions that are shared by
these scholars.
1. Learning is best conceived as a process, not in terms of outcomes.
2. All learning is re-learning.
3. Learning requires the resolution of conflicts between dialectically opposed
modes of adaptation to the world.
4. Learning is a holistic process of adaptation to the world.
5. Learning results from synergetic transactions between the person and the
environment.
6. Learning is the process of creating knowledge.
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Kolb et al. 213
Experience and the Learning Cycle
In order to appreciate the central role that experience plays in experiential learning, it
is particularly important to understand the philosophical foundations of ELT in William
James’ philosophy of radical empiricism. James laid the groundwork for pragmatism
by proposing radical empiricism as a new philosophy of reality and mind, which
resolved the conflicts between 19th-century rationalism and empiricism as expressed
in the philosophies of idealism and materialism. For James, everything begins and
ends in the continuous flux and flow of experience. In short, experience is all we
have—“we start with the supposition that there is only one primal stuff or material in
the world, a stuff of which everything is composed . . . we call that stuff ‘pure experi-
ence’” (James, 1912, p. 4). In this formulation, the duality between the mind and the
physical world is resolved because both are experienced, but with different
characteristics.
James may have been the first of many of the foundational ELT scholars to propose
a central and widely known concept in ELT, the experiential learning cycle. Drawing
on the foundational scholars, the experiential learning cycle has been formalized in
ELT as a dynamic view of learning driven by the resolution of the dual dialectics of
action/reflection and experience/abstraction. Learning is defined as “the process
Figure 1. Foundational scholars of experiential learning.
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214 Simulation & Gaming 45(2)
whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience. Knowledge
results from the combination of grasping and transforming experience” (D. A. Kolb,
1984, p. 41). Grasping experience refers to the process of taking in information, and
transforming experience is how individuals interpret and act on that information. The
ELT model portrays two dialectically related modes of grasping experience—Concrete
Experience (CE) and Abstract Conceptualization (AC)—and two dialectically related
modes of transforming experience—Reflective Observation (RO) and Active
Experimentation (AE). Learning arises from the resolution of creative tension among
these four learning modes. This process is portrayed as an idealized learning cycle or
spiral where the learner “touches all the bases”—experiencing (CE), reflecting (RO),
thinking (AC), and acting (AE)—in a recursive process that is sensitive to the learning
situation and what is being learned. Immediate or concrete experiences are the basis
for observations and reflections. These reflections are assimilated and distilled into
abstract concepts from which new implications for action can be drawn. These impli-
cations can be actively tested and serve as guides in creating new experiences. While
the learning cycle describes an idealized stepwise progression around the cycle begin-
ning with a concrete experience to reflection, conceptualization, action and back to
another concrete experience; in reality, learners may proceed to engage the learning
modes in different ways based on their learning style and context and educators may
choose not to begin with a concrete experience.
The implication of the philosophy of radical empiricism for ELT and the experien-
tial learning cycle is that it is not only the Concrete Experience mode of learning that
is experiential; all modes of the learning cycle are experiences. Both modes of grasp-
ing experience—Concrete Experience and Abstract Conceptualization and both modes
of transforming experience—Reflective Observation and Active Experimentation—
are part of the experiential learning process. Many use the term experiential learning
to refer to exercises and games used to involve students in the learning process.
However, a classroom lecture may be an abstract experience, but it is also a concrete
one, when, for example, a learner admires and imitates the lecturer. Likewise a learner
may work hard to create an abstract model in order to make sense of an internship
experience or experiential exercise. From the learner’s perspective, solitary reflection
can be an intensely emotional concrete experience and the action of programming a
computer can be a highly abstract experience. In their formulation of transformational
teaching, Slavich and Zimbardo (2012) describe the multi-dimensional importance of
experience in learning:
. . . experiential lessons provide students with an opportunity to experience concepts first-
hand and, as such, give students a richer, more meaningful understanding of course
concepts and of how they operate in the real world . . . they enhance the affective quality
of the course content. This occurs both when students are engaged in solving problems
that are part of the activities and when they are analyzing, sharing, discussing, and
reflecting on their personal reactions . . . it can significantly improve students’ memory
for concepts insofar as the information gets stored in autobiographical memory . . .
experiential lessons have the ability to shape students’ beliefs about learning and about
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Kolb et al. 215
the self . . . they can lead to significant personal insights, including a greater awareness
of one’s personally held perspectives—as well as an improved awareness of other
people’s experience—with the possibility to enhance these attributes through critical
reflection. (p. 26)
Learning Styles and the Learning Cycle
Learning style describes the unique ways individuals spiral through the learning cycle
based on their preference for the four different learning modes—CE, RO, AC, and AE.
Because of one’s genetic makeup, particular life experiences, and the demands of the
present environment, a preferred way of choosing among these four learning modes is
developed. The conflict between being concrete or abstract and between being active
or reflective is resolved in patterned, characteristic ways. Learning style is not a fixed
personality trait, but more like a habit of learning shaped by experience and choices—
it can be an automatic, unconscious mode of adapting or it can be consciously modi-
fied and changed. The stability of learning style arises from consistent patterns of
transaction between individuals and learning situations in their life. This process is
called accentuation—the way we learn about a new situation determines the range of
choices and decisions we see, the choices and decisions we make influence the next
situation we live through and this situation further influences future choices. Learning
styles are thus specialized modes of adaptation that are reinforced by the continuing
choice of situations where a style is successful (D. A. Kolb, 1984).
The Kolb Learning Style Inventory 4.0 (A. Y. Kolb & Kolb, 2011, 2013) brings a
new integration of learning styles with the learning cycle through the expansion of
learning style types from 4 to 9 and the introduction of the concept of learning flexibil-
ity—the extent to which an individual adapts his or her learning style to the demands
of the learning situation. The new learning cycle model integrates the styles around the
learning cycle emphasizing that learning requires different styles at different stages of
the learning process. Figure 2 illustrates the revised learning cycle model.
The nine styles as they move around the cycle are described below:
The Initiating style: Initiating action to deal with experiences and situations.
The Initiating style is characterized by the ability to initiate action in order to deal
with experiences and situations. It involves active experimentation (AE) and con-
crete experience (CE).
The Experiencing style: Finding meaning from deep involvement in experi-
ence. The Experiencing style is characterized by the ability to find meaning from
deep involvement in experience. It draws on concrete experience (CE) while bal-
ancing active experimentation (AE) and reflective observation (RO).
The Imagining style: Imagining possibilities by observing and reflecting on
experiences. The Imagining style is characterized by the ability to imagine possi-
bilities by observing and reflecting on experiences. It combines the learning steps
of concrete experience (CE) and reflective observation (RO).
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216 Simulation & Gaming 45(2)
The Reflecting style: Connecting experience and ideas through sustained
reflection. The Reflecting style is characterized by the ability to connect experi-
ence and ideas through sustained reflection. It draws on reflective observation (RO)
while balancing concrete experience (CE) and abstract conceptualization (AC).
The Analyzing style: Integrating ideas into concise models and systems through
reflection. The Analyzing style is characterized by the ability to integrate and sys-
tematize ideas through reflection. It combines reflective observation (RO) and
abstract conceptualization (AC).
The Thinking style: Disciplined involvement in abstract reasoning and logical
reasoning. The Thinking style is characterized by the capacity for disciplined
involvement in abstract and logical reasoning. It draws on abstract conceptualization
(AC) while balancing active experimentation (AE) and reflective observation (RO).
The Deciding style: Using theories and models to decide on problem solutions
and courses of action. The Deciding style is characterized by the ability to use
theories and models to decide on problem solutions and courses of action. It com-
bines abstract conceptualization (AC) and active experimentation (AE).
Balancing
Experiencing
Imagining
Reflecng
Analyzing
Thinking
Deciding
Acng
Iniang
Concrete
Experience
Abstract
Conceptualizaon
Converging
Acve
Experimentaon Reflecve
Observaon
Diverging
Assimilang
Accommodang
Figure 2. The nine learning styles and the four dialectics of the learning cycle.
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Kolb et al. 217
The Acting style: A strong motivation for goal directed action that integrates
people and tasks. The Acting style is characterized by a strong motivation for goal
directed action that integrates people and tasks. It draws on active experimentation
(AE) while balancing concrete experience (CE) and abstract conceptualization
(AC).
The Balancing style: Adapting by weighing the pros and cons of acting versus
reflecting and experiencing versus thinking. The Balancing style is characterized
by the ability to adapt; weighing the pros and cons of acting versus reflecting and
experiencing versus thinking. It balances concrete experience, abstract conceptual-
ization, active experimentation, and reflective observation.
These nine KLSI 4.0 learning styles further define the experiential learning cycle
by emphasizing four dialectic tensions in the learning process. In addition to the pri-
mary dialectics of Abstract Conceptualization/Concrete Experience and Active
Experimentation/Reflective Observation, the combination dialectics of Assimilation/
Accommodation and Converging/Diverging are also represented in an eight-stage
learning cycle with Balancing in the center. Thus, the Initiating style has a strong pref-
erence for active learning in context (Accommodation) while the Analyzing style has
a strong preference for reflective conceptual learning (Assimilation). The Imagining
style has a strong preference for opening alternatives and perspectives on experience
(Diverging) while the Deciding style has a strong preference for closing on the single
best option for action (Converging).
ELT as a Holistic Approach to Learning and Development
Educating is holistic. It is about developing the whole person. Educating the whole
person means that the goal of education is not solely cognitive knowledge of the facts,
but also includes development of social and emotional maturity. In ELT terms, it is
about facilitating integrated development in affective, perceptual, cognitive, and
behavioral realms. Rather than acquiring generalized knowledge stripped of any con-
text, learning is situated to the person’s life setting and life path (Lave & Wenger,
1991). John Dewey (1897) put it well, “I believe that education which does not occur
through forms of life that are worth living for their own sake is always a poor substi-
tute for genuine reality and tends to cramp and to deaden” (p. 7).
As a specialized learning style represents an individual preference for only one or
two of the four modes of the learning cycle, its effectiveness is limited to those learn-
ing situations that require these strengths. Learning flexibility indicates the develop-
ment of a more holistic and sophisticated learning process. The learning style types
described above portray how one prefers to learn in general. Many individuals feel that
their learning style type accurately describes how they learn most of the time. They are
consistent in their approach to learning. Others, however, report that they tend to
change their learning approach depending on what they are learning or the situation
they are in. They may say, for example, that they use one style in the classroom and
another at home with their friends and family. These are flexible learners.
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218 Simulation & Gaming 45(2)
Following Jung’s theory that adult development moves from a specialized way of
adapting toward a holistic integrated way, development in learning flexibility is seen
as a move from specialization to integration. Integrated learning is a process involving
a creative tension among the four learning modes that is responsive to contextual
demands. Learning flexibility is the ability to use each of the four learning modes to
move freely around the learning cycle and to modify one’s approach to learning based
on the learning situation. Experiencing, reflecting, thinking, and acting each provides
valuable perspectives on the learning task in a way that deepens and enriches
knowledge.
Experiential Learning in Relationship
In the midst of the multitude of educational theories, learning technologies, and insti-
tutional procedures and constraints, it is easy to lose sight of the most important
thing—teaching is above all a profound human relationship. We can all think of teach-
ers who have had a major impact on our lives and in most cases, this involved a special
relationship where we felt recognized, valued, and empowered by the teacher. Parker
Palmer (1997) describes the courage necessary for a teacher to fully enter into learning
relationships with students as a willingness to expose one’s inner world; to honor stu-
dents as complex, relational beings; and to masterfully weave these worlds together
with the course content. ELT suggests that educating is not something one does to
students through implementation of a set of techniques. Rather, it is something educa-
tors do with learners in the context of meaningful relationships and shared experi-
ences. Careful planning and structuring of student experiences is an important element
of effective education. However, another important element is active participation in
the learning process on the part of the educator. Many of the foundational scholars of
experiential learning, especially Carl Rogers, Mary Parker Follett, Lev Vygotsky, and
Paulo Freire, give a central place to the relationship between educator and learner in
their theories.
Lev Vygotsky. While much attention has been given to the origins of experiential learn-
ing in the constructivism of Piaget, less attention has been given to its basis in the
social constructivism of Vygotsky (Kayes, 2002). Piaget focused on the process of
internal cognitive development in the individual, while the focus for Vygotsky was on
the historical cultural and social context of individuals in relationship, emphasizing
the “tools of culture” and mentoring by more knowledgeable community members. He
is best known for his concept of the Zone of Proximal Development—a learning space
that promotes the transition from a pedagogical stage, where something can be dem-
onstrated with the assistance of a more knowledgeable other, to an expert stage of
independent performance.
The key technique for accomplishing this transition is called “scaffolding.” In scaf-
folding, the educator tailors the learning process to the individual needs and develop-
mental level of the learner. Scaffolding provides the structure and support necessary to
progressively build knowledge. The model of teaching around the cycle described
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Kolb et al. 219
above provides a framework for this scaffolding process. When an educator has a per-
sonal relationship with a learner, he or she can skillfully intervene to reinforce or alter
a learner’s pattern of interaction with the world. This approach requires competence in
relating to learners in complex ways—ways that help them feel, perceive, think, and
behave differently. These ways of relating are characterized in the multiple roles an
educator plays in relationship to the learners and the object of the learning endeavor.
Highly effective educators do not rely solely on one role (A. Y. Kolb & Kolb, 2013).
Rather, they organize their educational activities in such a manner that they address all
four learning modes—experiencing, reflecting, thinking, and acting. As they do this,
they lead learners around the cycle; shifting the role they play depending on which
stage of the cycle they are addressing. In effect, the role they adopt helps to create a
learning space designed to facilitate the transition from one learning mode to the other
as shown in Figure 3. Often this is done in a recursive fashion, repeating the cycle
many times in a learning program as the learner gains secure footing at their current
level, to use a scaffolding metaphor. The cycle then becomes a spiral with each pas-
sage through the cycle deepening and extending learners’ understanding of the
subject.
Mary Parker Follett. In Creative Experience Mary Parker Follett (1924) describes how
we can meet together in experience to evoke learning and development in one another:
. . . the essence of experience, the law of relation, is reciprocal freeing: here is the “rock
and the substance of the human spirit.” This is the truth of stimulus and response:
evocation. We are all rooted in that great unknown in which are the infinite latents of
humanity. And these latents are evoked, called forth into visibility, summoned, by the
action and reaction of one on the other. All human interaction should be the evocation by
each from the other of new forms undreamed of before, and all intercourse that is not
evocation should be eschewed. Release, evocation—evocation by release, release by
evocation—this is the fundamental law of the universe . . . To free the energies of the
human spirit is the high potentiality of all human association. (p. 303)
Anticipating Norbert Weiner’s discovery of cybernetics by many years, she
describes how we co-create one another by circular response. “Through circular
response, we are creating each other all the time . . . Accurately speaking the matter
cannot be expressed by the phrase used above, I-plus-you meeting you-plus-me. It is I
plus the-interweaving-between-you-and-me meeting you plus the-interweaving-
between-you-and-me, etc., etc.”
Hunt (1987) applies this idea to ELT suggesting that a learning spiral is shared
between individuals in human interaction. People relate to one another in a pattern of
alternatively “reading” and “flexing” that mirrors the experiential learning process.
When one person is reading, receiving feedback (CE) and formulating perceptions (RO),
the other person is flexing, creating intentions based on those perceptions (AC) and act-
ing on them (AE). As the exchange continues, both parties alternate between reading and
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220 Simulation & Gaming 45(2)
flexing. On the basis of the actions that they take, educators can activate different learn-
ing modes in students based on their patterns of reading and flexing (Abbey, Hunt, &
Weiser, 1985). This is the foundation of the concept of educator role in ELT.
The Educator Role Profile
The Educator Role Profile (ERP) was created to assist educators in their application of
the ELT concepts of the learning cycle and learning style in the dynamic matching
model of teaching around the learning cycle. In our interviews and observations of
highly successful educators, we find that they tend to organize their educational activi-
ties in such a manner that they address all four learning cycle modes—experiencing,
reflecting, thinking, and acting; using some form of the dynamic matching model in the
roles they adopt. The ERP describes four common educator roles—Facilitator, Subject
Expert, Standard-Setter/Evaluator, and Coach. To help learners move around the learn-
ing cycle, educators must adapt their role—moving from Facilitator, to Subject Matter
Expert, to Standard-Setter/Evaluator, and to Coach as shown in Figure 3.
The Facilitator Role. When facilitating, educators help learners get in touch
with their personal experience and reflect on it. They adopt a warm affirming
style to draw out learners’ interests, intrinsic motivation, and self-knowledge.
Reflecve
authoritave style
Systemacally
analyzes and
organizes the subject
Delivers knowledge
by lectures and texts
Objecve results-
oriented style
Sets performance
objecves
Structures
performance acvies
to evaluate earning
Warm affirming style
“Inside-out” learning
to draw out movaon
and self knowledge
Creates personal
relaonships and
dialogue
Applied collaborave
style
Works one on one
with learners to apply
and refine their on-
going learning in
context
Uses feedback
mechanism and
development plans
Coach Facilitator
Subject
Expert
Standard-
seer &
Evaluator
Acon
Focus
Meaning
Focus
Learner Focus
Subject Focus
Figure 3. Educator role profile.
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Kolb et al. 221
They often do this by facilitating conversation in small groups. They create
personal relationships with learners.
The Subject Expert Role. In their role as subject expert, educators help learn-
ers organize and connect their reflections to the knowledge base of the subject
matter. They adopt an authoritative, reflective style. They often teach by exam-
ple, modeling and encouraging critical thinking as they systematically organize
and analyze the subject matter knowledge. This knowledge is often communi-
cated through lectures and texts.
The Standard-Setter/Evaluator Role. As a standard-setter and evaluator, edu-
cators help learners master the application of knowledge and skill in order to
meet performance requirements. They adopt an objective results-oriented style
as they set the knowledge requirements needed for quality performance. They
create performance activities for learners to evaluate their learning.
The Coaching Role. In the coaching role, educators help learners apply knowl-
edge to achieve their goals. They adopt a collaborative, encouraging style, often
working one-on-one with individuals to help them learn from experiences in
their life context. They assist in the creation of personal development plans and
provide ways of getting feedback on performance.
Most of us adopt each of these roles to some extent in our educational and teaching
activities. This is in part because these roles are determined by the way we resolve
fundamental dilemmas of education. Do we focus on the learner’s experience and
interest or subject matter requirements? Do we focus on effective performance and
action or on a deep understanding of the meaning of ideas? All are required for maxi-
mally effective learning. Individuals, however, tend to have a definite preference for
one or two roles over the others; because of their educational philosophy, their per-
sonal teaching style, and the requirements of their particular educational setting
including administrative mandates and learner needs. The ERP assessment instrument
is designed to help educators sharpen their awareness of these preferences and to make
deliberate choices about what works best in a specific situation.
Development of the ERP Self-assessment Instrument
Most previous research on individual differences in educational approaches to educa-
tion has focused on the concept of teaching style, conceived of as personal character-
istics and teaching methods in classroom teaching (e.g., Grasha, 1994; Kember &
Gow, 1994; Trigwell & Prosser, 1996). Two studies in particular have focused on ELT
and developed measures of teaching modes that correspond to the four learning modes
of the learning cycle. Wheeler and Marshall (1986) develop the Trainer Type Inventory
and Rudowski (1996) creates the Teaching Style Inventory. Both instruments were
based on Svinicki and Dixon’s (1987) model of teaching methods related to the four
ELT learning modes.
The ERP, on the other hand, uses the term “educator” to broaden the concept of
teaching to other life roles that involve education. When we think of educators, we
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222 Simulation & Gaming 45(2)
immediately think of teachers and educational institutions, but educating is an activity
that occurs in nearly all life situations. Erik Erikson goes so far as to say that we
humans are a “teaching species,” distinguished by the fact that we parent and teach our
young for a long period of time and create societies that share knowledge and cultural
values through education. We play educational roles in educational institutions as
teachers and administrators; in organizations as leaders, managers, and human resource
specialists; and in our personal lives as parents, spouses, and friends. While the items
in the ERP were created with more formal educator roles in mind, they also apply
more generally to all relationships at work and in personal life.
To emphasize the relational perspective of experiential learning, the ERP goes
beyond individual teaching style to define educational roles. The educator role frame-
work shifts the educational paradigm from the educator acting on the learner to the
educator acting with the learner. Because the learner and educator are intertwined, the
teacher must behave in ways that elicit or respond to the desired learning mode of the
students. Educator roles do not directly correspond to the four learning modes, but are
defined as bridging strategies between learning modes. Just as students can gain pro-
ficiency in integrating multiple learning modes, educators can gain flexibility in enact-
ing the four teaching roles.
Educator roles, as defined in the ERP self-report instrument, not only include indi-
vidual teaching style, but also include beliefs about teaching and learning, goals for
the educational process and instructional practices (see Table 1).
Item generation. On the basis of a review of the education literature, we created a total
of 96 items on a 7-point Likert-type scale—six items in each of the four roles for
Table 1. Examples of Beliefs, Goals, Styles, and Practices Associated With Educator Roles.
Educator role
Beliefs:
“Learning occurs
best when . . .”
Goals:
“My students
develop . . . ”
Style:
“As a teacher, I prefer
to be . . .”
Practices:
“Instructional forms I
often use include . . .”
Facilitator It begins with
the learners
experience
Empathy and
understanding
of others
Creative, warm,
affirming
Class discussion,
journals, personal
stories
Expert New concepts are
integrated into
existing mental
frameworks
Analytic and
conceptual
abilities
Logical,
authoritative
Lectures,
readings, written
assignments
Evaluator Clear standards
and feedback are
provided
Problem-solving
skills
Structured,
outcome-oriented,
objective
Laboratories,
graded homework
assignments
Coach It takes place in a
real-life context
Ability to work
productively
with others
Applied,
collaborative, risk-
taking
Field projects, role-
plays, simulations
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Kolb et al. 223
beliefs, goals, style, and practices. The resulting questionnaire was administered to a
group of 50 human resource specialists. Cronbach’s alpha was used to select the 15
items that best represented the each of the four roles. The resulting alpha coefficients
for the four roles were coach (.84), facilitator (.83), subject expert (.82), and standard-
setter/evaluator (.91).
Instrument development. The ERP instrument was formatted in a forced-choice paired
comparison series of 30 items. Each item comparison anchor corresponds to one of
four educator roles—coach, facilitator, expert, and evaluator; resulting in 15 anchor
items for each educator role. Item pairs were created by selecting items from above
Cronbach’s alpha analysis to pair each role to every other role 3 times. Pairs were
matched on Likert-type scale means in order to balance role preferences in each pair
and similar content (e.g., beliefs to beliefs). The resulting instrument was administered
in a “think aloud” interview with three faculty members known for teaching excel-
lence and one trainer. Results from these interviews were used to edit and fine-tune the
item pairings in the ERP.
ERP scores. The instrument is scored by totaling the number of role choices in each
category, resulting in a score between 0 and 15 for each role. In addition, two combina-
tion scores represent the emphasis on subject matter versus learner-centered ([Expert
+ Evaluator] − [Coach + Facilitator]) and emphasis on action versus meaning
([Evaluator + Coach] − [Facilitator + Expert]). Finally, a balance score was created by
computing the variance of the four role scores such that a low variance indicated a
balanced role profile.
Normative sample. The ERP was administered to a diverse sample of 222 educators
comprised of four groups:
Management educators: 37 organizational behavior management educators
from various European and North American universities.
Judicial educators: 65 judicial educators attending an experiential learning
workshop at their national conference.
Retirement educators: 44 retirement educators who coach clients on financial
issues in a public pension fund (Timura, 2012).
K-12 educators: K-12 educators from India who are involved in applying
experiential learning principles in their teaching.
ERP scores for these groups are shown in Table 2. As most of the sample were
individuals who were familiar with experiential learning, it is not surprising that the
ERP scores are skewed toward learner-centered preferences for coach and facilitator
roles. The exception is the retirement educator sample the majority of whom are finan-
cial planners with no training in experiential learning. Their scores are the most sub-
ject expert centered with the most balanced role profile. The other three groups have
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224 Simulation & Gaming 45(2)
higher variance scores indicating more specialized role preferences for coach and
facilitator.
Reliability. Split-half reliability scores were computed for the four role preferences and
four combination scores in the normative sample of 221. Coefficients for Coach (.74)
and Facilitator (.82) were good, but weak for Expert (.59) and Evaluator (.56). All four
combination scores had good coefficients—Learner focus (.88), Subject focus (.70),
Action focus (.70), and Meaning focus (.81).
Do Educators Teach the Way They Learn?
It is widely believed that educators teach the way they learn (Davidson, 1990; Hartel,
1995). Some studies even use style measures to assess teaching approach (Allinson,
Hayes, & Davis, 1994; Onwuegbuzie & Daley, 1998). The two ELT-based studies
cited earlier show little evidence for this relationship. Wheeler and Marshall (1986)
find no relationship between the KLSI and the Trainer Type Inventory; while Rudowski
(1996) finds a small relationship between the KLSI and the Teaching Style Inventory
and Wheeler’s Trainer Type Inventory with 38% of the sample showing similar pat-
terns on the three instruments.
As participants in the ERP normative sample also took the Kolb Learning Style
Inventory 4.0 (A. Y. Kolb & Kolb, 2011), it is possible to examine the relationship
between learning style and teaching approach as measured by the Educator Role
Profile. Results of this analysis are shown in Table 3.
Results show a highly significant relationship (p < .0001) between the abstract
learning style and subject matter orientation as indicated by preferences for the Expert
and Evaluator roles. Concrete learners on the other hand are learner oriented preferring
the Facilitator role in particular. These results are consistent with predictions that
Table 2. ERP Scores for Four Groups of Educators.
Sample nCoach Facilitator Expert Evaluator
Subject/
learner
Action/
meaning Balance
Total 222 8.82
(2.26)
8.87
(2.69)
6.43
(2.51)
5.67
(2.35)
−5.60
(6.64)
−0.81
(5.11)
27.28
(22.37)
Management
educator
37 9.16
(1.94)
9.35
(3.07)
6.22
(2.04)
5.27
(2.72
−7.01
(6.76)
−1.14
(5.53)
33.08
(22.52)
Judicial
educator
65 9.14
(2.02)
8.49
(2.60)
6.35
(2.58)
6.02
(2.43)
−5.26
(6.54)
0.31
(5.59)
25.01
(18.62)
Retirement
educator
44 7.80
(1.91)
7.64
(2.60)
8.45
(2.30)
6.09
(2.13)
−0.89
(6.44)
−2.20
(4.42)
18.73
(16.03)
India K-12
educator
76 8.99
(2.64)
9.68
(2.32)
5.42
(2.09)
5.32
(2.15)
−7.93
(5.31)
−0.80
(4.69)
31.36
(26.60)
Note. The values in parentheses refer to standard deviation. ERP = Educator Role Profile.
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Kolb et al. 225
concrete feeling-oriented educators connect more with individual learners while
abstract educators connect more with ideas. The other prediction that active learners
would prefer the action roles of evaluator and coach, while reflective learners would
prefer the meaning-oriented roles of facilitator and expert, was not borne out by the
results, which showed no significant relationships for these variables.
The prediction that educators who had high learning flexibility would have a more
balanced ERP result (as evidenced by low ERP variance) was also not confirmed by
the data. However, results showing that concrete educators had greater balance in their
ERP results and those low in learning flexibility did preferred the expert role are con-
sistent with previous research indicating that concrete learners vary their learning style
by context (Sharma & Kolb, 2010) and that experts have a tendency to become
“cognitively entrenched”(Dane, 2010) and less flexible. It is also worth noting that
two of the four normative subsamples did show significant positive relationships
between learning flexibility and balanced educator roles—the management educators
(.45, p < .006) and the retirement educators (.31, p < .05). Future research may show
that institutional and professional contexts emphasize specialized educator roles
reducing role balance and flexibility.
The Practice of Dynamic Matching
The dynamic matching model of ELT offers the experiential educator a more complex,
but more realistic model for guiding educational practice than do simple prescriptions to
facilitate or match teaching and learning style. In addition to considering the relationship
between educator and learner, one must also consider the match of learning approach
with the subject matter. Willingham (2005), in fact, considers this more important than
matching learning and teaching style. All of this must be determined in the light of the
multiple performance, learning and development objectives of most educational activi-
ties. Professions with precise performance requirements such as surgery or software
Table 3. Correlation of the Kolb Learning Style Inventory 4.0 With the Educator Role
Profile.
Learning style (KLSI 4.0)
ERP
subject-
learner
ERP
action-
meaning
ERP
variance
Coach
role
Facilitator
role
Expert
role
Evaluator
role
Abstract-
concrete
r.284** .073 −.211** −.051 −.292** .262** .154*
p.000 .317 .003 .482 .000 .000 .033
Active-
reflective
r−.139 .031 .092 .141 .088 −.100 −.064
p.056 .666 .207 .051 .229 .169 .382
Learning
flexibility
r−.110 .087 −.041 .088 .076 −.161* .025
p.113 .208 .553 .203 .273 .020 .724
Note. Pearson’s r, p values two-tailed, n = 190. ERP = Educator Role Profile.
*p < .05. **p < .01.
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226 Simulation & Gaming 45(2)
development may make the standard-setter/evaluator role paramount and require devel-
opment of thinking, deciding, and acting learning styles. Art education, on the other
hand, may make the facilitator role paramount and require development of experiencing,
imagining, and reflecting learning styles (Eickmann, Kolb, & Kolb, 2003). In addition to
specialized academic training, teachers often have objectives concerning the growth and
creativity of their students. In making students more “well-rounded,” the aim is to
develop the weaknesses in the students’ learning styles to stimulate growth in their abil-
ity to learn from a variety of learning perspectives.
Educating Around the Experiential Learning Cycle
Figure 4 shows the nine-style experiential learning cycle and the corresponding educa-
tor roles that match them; for example, the coach role is most appropriate for the
experiencing, initiating, and acting styles, while the facilitator role connects with the
experiencing imagining and reflecting styles (see Figure 4).
Balancing
Experiencing
Imagining
Reflecng
Analyzing
Thinking
Deciding
Acng
Iniang
Figure 4. Educator roles and the nine-style learning cycle.
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Kolb et al. 227
The dynamic matching model suggests that matching style with role is important to
connect with and engage learners. Raschick, Maypole, and Day (1998) find that social
work students whose learning styles were similar to their field supervisors along the
active experimentation-reflective observation continuum would rate their field experi-
ence with them higher. We suggest that the finding is most relevant for the supervisors
at the beginning point of the learning cycle, when matching their teaching techniques
to learners’ preferences offers encouragement to move through the rest of the learning
cycle. Individual learning styles can be an entry point through which learners enter a
particular learning space, but most learning requires that they continue to actively
move around the learning cycle using other learning styles to acquire increasingly
complex knowledge and skills and capacity to adapt to the wider demands of a given
learning environment.
While Figure 4 depicts an idealized sequential progression through the educator
roles and learning styles in most cases, a curriculum design will be based on a sequence
of activities and instructional techniques that fits the subject matter and learning objec-
tives that may or may not fit such an orderly progression. In considering a design, it is
useful to consider for each segment the teaching role to adopt, the learning style that
you want to engage, and the choice of instructional technique best suited to the learn-
ing style and role (see Table 4).
The dynamic matching model recognizes that not only educators have individual
role preferences, and learners have preferred learning styles, but also that both can
develop the capacity to adapt their respective roles and styles to one another and the
learning situation at hand.
Educator Role Flexibility
Kosower and Berman (1996) argue that faculty members are capable of learning to
teach in ways that are incongruent with their own learning styles: “because we all
engage in all of the strategies to some degree, it seems to be more a matter of willing-
ness to learn rather than ability” (p. 217). Baker, Simon, and Bazeli (1987) contend
that teaching is an art requiring the instructor to select from among a wide variety of
Table 4. Educator Roles, Learning Styles, and Instructional Techniques.
Teaching roles Instructional techniques Learning style
Facilitator Journals, group discussion, brain storming,
perspective taking, personal examples
Experiencing, imagining,
reflecting
Expert Lectures, readings, written assignments,
model critiques
Reflecting, analyzing, thinking
Evaluator Laboratories, case studies, simulations,
graded homework
Thinking, deciding, acting
Coach Field work, site visits, applied projects,
practicum experiences
Acting, initiating, experiencing
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228 Simulation & Gaming 45(2)
instructional strategies to reach students with a diversity of learning preferences.
Milne, James, Keegan, and Dudley (2002) develop an observational method to assess
mental health trainers’ transaction patterns along with their impact on student learning
and a training program designed to teach trainers to teach to all learning modes. The
results of the study indicate that during the baseline phase, the observed teaching
method was primarily didactic in nature and accounted for the greatest impact (46.4%)
on learner behavior in the reflection mode of the learning cycle, followed by smaller
overall impacts on the remaining phases of the cycle. In the intervention phase by
contrast, the greatest impact of the trainer’s behavior on learners’ was on the concrete
experience (59.5%), followed by reflective observation (33%), and active experimen-
tation (4.5%) phases of the learning cycle. We conclude that the intervention phase
produced trainer’s behaviors that promote learners’ ability to take advantage of the full
range of the experiential learning cycle thus maximizing their learning outcomes.
As education becomes more learner-centered, Harrelson and Leaver-Dunn (2002)
suggest that experiential learning requires that teachers assume a facilitator mind-set,
which might be a difficult mind-set for some. Lipshitz (1983) underscores the com-
plexity of roles for an experiential educator who needs to have a firm grasp of the
relevant conceptual material, and develop sensitivity and skill in managing learners’
emotional reactions to the learning process.
Learners may also react to the shifting role of the educator from that of a knowledge
purveyor to one that creates the learning environment and facilitated the holistic learn-
ing process. McGoldrick, Battle, and Gallagher (2000) indicate that the less control
instructors exert on the students’ experiences, the more effective the learning outcome
will be. However, instructors may run the risk of losing control over course structure
and failing to keep the learning activities bounded within a specific time frame. Most
of the risks associated with the experiential method, contend the authors, can be miti-
gated through careful planning, unambiguous course structure, establishing of clear
expectations, and firm deadline for each class activity. Furthermore, learners will have
differing level of interest as well as difficulties with certain stages of the learning
cycle. It is incumbent upon the educator to grasp the diverse needs of learners and be
aware of the challenges that some will face in the various phases of the cycle.
Learning Style Flexibility
Studies do show, however, that learners are able to flex their learning styles according
to the demand of different learning tasks. Several studies suggest that in fact students
shift their learning strategies to match the learning demands of a particular discipline
(Cornett, 1983; Entwistle, 1981; D. A. Kolb, 1984; Ornstein, 1977). Jones, Reichard,
and Mokhtari (2003) examine the extent to which community college students’ learn-
ing style preferences vary as a function of discipline. They found significant differ-
ences in students’ learning style preference across four different subject-area
disciplines: English, math, science, and social studies. The results indicate that 83% of
the 103 participants switched learning styles for two or more disciplines suggesting
that students are capable of flexing their learning strategies to respond to the
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Kolb et al. 229
discipline-specific learning requirements. By understanding the dynamic matching
model, they can become more capable of deliberate experiential learning (A. Y. Kolb
& Kolb, 2009a, 2009b; D. A. Kolb & Yeganeh, in press).
Summary
The Educator Role Profile and the dynamic matching model offer experiential educa-
tors a framework to guide their practice. Becoming an experiential educator involves
more than just being a facilitator or matching learning style with teaching style.
Experiential education is a complex relational process that involves balancing atten-
tion to the learner and to the subject matter while also balancing reflection on the deep
meaning of ideas with the skill of applying them. The dynamic matching model for
“teaching around the learning cycle” describes four roles that educators can adopt to
do so—facilitator, subject expert, standard-setter/evaluator, and coach. Using the
Educator Role Profile, we find that to some extent educators do tend to teach the way
they learn, finding that those with concrete learning styles are more learner-centered,
preferring the facilitator role; while those with abstract learning styles are more sub-
ject-centered preferring the expert and evaluator roles. However, with practice, both
learners and educators can develop the flexibility to use all roles and styles to create a
more powerful and effective process of teaching and learning—in Mary Parker
Follett’s words, “. . . free the energies of the human spirit . . . the highest potentiality
of all human association.”
Author Contributions
All authors contributed substantially to this article. AYK, DAK, AP, and GS conceived and
designed the instrument. DAK and AP gathered data. DAK wrote the final manuscript. AP and
AYK wrote the first draft. AYK, DAK, and AP did the bulk of the literature search. AYK, AP,
and GS made numerous critiques and suggested specific wording. DAK designed most of the
graphics. DAK and GS did most of the statistical analyses.
Acknowledgment
The authors wish to thank Parminder Singh, Meenu Tomar, Kay Peterson, Gerri Light, James
Zull, Paul Salipante, Chris Kayes, and Mano Singham for their assistance and thoughtful contri-
butions to this article.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship,
and/or publication of this article.
Funding
The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of
this article.
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230 Simulation & Gaming 45(2)
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Author Biographies
Alice Y. Kolb is the president of Experience Based Learning Systems. She received her BA in
Japanese studies from Tokyo University, and MA and doctorate in human resources management
from Hitotsubashi University. She received a MS in human resource management from Cleveland
State University and PhD from Case Western Reserve University in organizational behavior.
Contact: dak5@msn.com.
David A. Kolb is the chairman of Experience Based Learning Systems, an organization he
founded in 1980 to advance experiential learning. He received his BA at Knox College, and MA
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234 Simulation & Gaming 45(2)
and PhD in social psychology from Harvard University. He was a professor of organizational
behavior at the MIT Sloan School of Management and is currently emeritus professor at Case
Western Reserve University.
Contact: dak5@msn.com.
Angela Passarelli is an assistant professor at the College of Charleston. With degrees in educa-
tional administration (MS) and organizational behavior (PhD), she has used experiential learn-
ing theory to design educational experiences both inside and outside the classroom for over 10
years. Her current research focuses on how developmental relationships support behavior
change, particularly in the context of leader development.
Contact: amp67@case.edu.
Garima Sharma is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Western Ontario. She received her
PhD in organizational behavior from Case Western Reserve University. Her research focuses on
understanding how businesses juxtapose profit with social goals to create positive outcomes for
all stakeholders. She has unpacked this question using paradox, institutional theory, and theories
of individual and organizational learning.
Contact: gsharma@ivey.uwo.ca.
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... Experiential Learning emphasizes the process of learning rather than the outcomes of learning (Kolb & Kolb, 2005;Kolb, Kolb, Passarelli, & Sharma, 2014;Tomkins, & Ulus, 2016). More importantly, perception, cognition, behavior, and experience are all woven into the fabric of experiential learning (Kolb, 2015). ...
... Learning is a process of developing knowledge through experience (Kolb, 2015). Experiential Learning emphasizes the process of learning rather than the outcomes of education (Kolb et al., 2014;Tomkins & Ulus, 2016;van Rensburg, Botma, Heyns, & Coetzee, 2018;Wurdinger & Allison, 2017). Experiential learning is applying the theory and content of academia to real-world contexts (Cyphert, Dodge, & Duclos, 2016;Fede et al., 2018;Kim, 2019;Maguire, 2018). ...
... The objectives of the research study included analyzing a business practicum course's influence on a first-year student's confidence, investigating the student's confidence in their major after participating in the business practicum course, and evaluating whether first-year business student's valued the experience in the practicum group work (Maguire, 2018). Service-learning opportunities for students during their first-year at colleges or universities afford students practical experience working in real-world contexts (Kolb et al., 2014). Maguire (2018) explored the student's perception of the introduction of a firstyear experiential business practicum course and builds on preceding studies that focused on first-year business student's confidence in their chosen educational path. ...
... Through engaging in a reflective cycle, the learner continuously encounters new experiences, reflects on their own perception of that experience, adjusts their abstract conceptualization, tests their new understanding, and then makes new experiences. These steps, together with EBL-oriented facilitation (Kolb, Kolb, Passarelli, & Sharma, 2014) meet learners of diverse backgrounds where they are, making EBL attractive for interdisciplinary programs such as sustainability. ...
... This could explain why the students also put instructor role at the forefront during the focus groups. Kolb and Kolb describe instructors in EBL as ideally shifting focus between the learners, meaning making, content, and actions (Kolb et al., 2014;Kolb & Kolb, 2017). ...
... Andresen et al. (2000) anticipated this challenge, but did not offer suggestions to mitigate it. Biggs (1996) and Kolb et al. (2014) also emphasize the importance of alignment of assessment with activities. This frustration was also expressed by instructors, who found university grading systems at odds with transformative goals. ...
Purpose This paper aims to investigate student experiences and the potential impact of experience-based learning (EBL) in the early phase of graduate sustainability programs through the lens of key competencies. The goal is to provide evidence for the improvement of existing and the thorough design of new EBL formats in sustainability programs. Design/methodology/approach This comparative case study focuses on the first semester of three graduate sustainability programs at Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Germany and Arizona State University, USA, for two of which EBL was a core feature. The study compares the curricula, the teaching and learning environments and the reported experiences of one student cohort from each of three programs and synthesizes the resulting insights. Student interviews were combined with student self-assessments and supported by in-vivo observations, curriculum designer input, instructor interviews and course materials. MAXQDA was used for data analysis following a grounded theory approach. Findings EBL influences students’ reflective capacity, which impacts the development of key competencies in sustainability. Qualitative analysis found four key themes in relation to the students’ learning in EBL settings, namely, discomfort, time-attention relationship, student expectations of instructors and exchange. The intersection of these themes with curricular structure, student dispositions and differing instructor approaches shows how curriculum can either support or interrupt the reflective cycle and thus, holistic learning. Research limitations/implications With the focus on the first semester only, the students’ competence development over the course of the entire program cannot be demonstrated. Learning processes within EBL settings are complex and include aspects outside the control of instructors and curriculum designers. This study addresses only a select number of factors influencing students’ learning in EBL settings. Practical implications Early engagement with EBL activities can push students to leave their comfort zones and question previous assumptions. Designing curricula to include EBL while encouraging strong intra-cohort connections and creating space for reflection seems to be an effective approach to enable the development of key competencies in sustainability. Originality/value This paper investigates the experiences of students in EBL through a key competence lens. The study combines student self-perceptions, instructor reflections and in-vivo observations. Data collection and analysis were conducted by a researcher not affiliated with the programs. These factors make for a unique study design and with data-driven insights on the seldom researched competence-pedagogy-curriculum connection.
... De acordo com Coelho et al. (2006) Kolb et al. (2014), seis proposições são compartilhadas por esses estudiosos: ...
... Tais estágios correspondem aos modos de adaptação ao mundo a que Kolb et al. (2014) se referem, que são complementares entre si e igualmente importantes para o processo de Foi observado que os aspectos de estilo cognitivo e de estados de ânimo não foram diretamente contemplados nos artigos selecionados, com a ausência dos termos buscados "cognitive style" e "emotion" em sua forma literal. Por outro lado, termos como "learning styles", "mental structure", "mood" e "feelings" apareceram. ...
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Embora esteja em grande ascensão, observa-se que a modalidade Educação a Distância (EAD) ainda possui uma percepção popular de qualidade de ensino inferior em comparação com o Ensino Presencial. Estima-se que carências como as de relações interpessoais entre estudantes, do uso de tecnologias mais interativas e dinâmicas, e da realização de práticas profissionais contribuam para essa percepção. Buscando atuar nestas potenciais fragilidades, esta tese apresenta o desenvolvimento de um suporte midiático composto por Mundos Virtuais (MVs) e Non-Player Characteres (NPCs), com um destes NPCs integrado à tecnologia de Agente Conversacional, atuando na função de Companheiro Virtual. Como aspecto principal, investiga-se o senso de presença, um construto da dimensão afetiva definido como a sensação de “estar lá” (no virtual). A pesquisa é aplicada, explicativa, de caráter misto e de abordagem quase-experimental, e divide-se em duas fases. Na primeira, foi desenvolvido o ambiente Simulação sobre Matemática Financeira, à luz do modelo pedagógico da Aprendizagem Experiencial e no formato role-playing, sendo realizados três estudos preliminares. Na segunda fase foram conduzidos três estudos finais. Destes seis estudos, cinco abrangeram contextos reais de educação formal ofertada na modalidade EAD. Um total de 132 estudantes realizou uma atividade extracurricular em um de três diferentes grupos (condições): Controle, que utilizou o Ambiente Virtual de Aprendizagem web tradicional; Experimental, que utilizou o MV; e Real Experimental, que utilizou o MV com o Companheiro Virtual. Como resultado, foram detectados problemas de inclusão digital, dificuldades e resistência ao uso de novas tecnologias pelos estudantes. Por outro lado, descobriu-se que a confiança no uso da tecnologia e o suporte do Companheiro Virtual foram fatores positivos para o senso de presença; que o Companheiro Virtual foi um fator positivo para o engajamento; e que o senso de presença foi um aspecto positivo para o processo de aprendizagem e para a satisfação dos estudantes. Com base nos achados e para responder à questão de pesquisa “Como promover o senso de presença de forma a contribuir com o processo de aprendizagem na EAD?” foi organizada uma estrutura com sete diretrizes de apoio às decisões para o uso de MVs.
... Kato (2010) and Kriz (2010) show how facilitation can be characterised from different perspectives, varying from a set of tools, leadership, a communicative act, social action (Kato 2010) to giving direction, explaining, motivating and coaching (Kriz, 2010). Kolb et al., (2014) discern four facilitation roles: coach, facilitator, expert and evaluator. Finally, Leigh and Naweed (2019) highlight the management of power relations and how the presence of the facilitator can influence game-play. ...
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Background Describing the role of a facilitator often results in to-do lists resembling a recipe or a laundry list to follow. Such lists fail to grasp the inherent complexity of facilitation and are not very useful in guiding facilitators when, why and if they should intervene in the unfolding live performance of that day. Aim To develop a deeper understanding of on-the-fly facilitation by analyzing rich empirical accounts of in-situ facilitation episodes. Intervention Six facilitation episodes were through purposeful sampling selected from a body of hundreds of interventions in forty-seven performed crisis management training exercises in Swedish municipalities. Each full-day crisis management simulation-game had between fifteen and fifty participants involving politicians, administrative managers and crisis management staff. Method An auto-hermeneutical phenomenological analysis of six lived experiences of facilitation episodes was conducted to understand what the facilitator observed and how a facilitation intervention was applied. Results On-the-fly-facilitation is instantaneous, but draws simultaneously on awareness of the past, present and future. Facilitation needs are foreseen during design and they influence current attentiveness and coaching. Unfolding game-play needs to be grasped quickly. Potential future consequences of intervening or not intervening are evaluated within a limited window of opportunity. Due to these circumstances, facilitation is multi-skilled, arbitrary and fallible. Such muddiness of on-the-fly facilitation requires courage from the facilitator. Conclusions In order to better understand how facilitation skills and roles actually are performed, the facilitation literature desperately needs a larger number of rich empirical accounts of interesting in-situ facilitation. Elaborate analysis of such lived experiences could develop understanding as to how available skills, situational circumstances as well as the unfolding interaction between players and facilitators actually develop into a facilitation intervention. This could generate more complex theoretical understanding of how to apply facilitation skills, in addition to theories that list what skills a facilitator should master.
... Along with the increasing number of music graduates each year, there is an increasing need to produce quality music graduates to ensure good graduate employability rate. Hands-on learning through experiential learning methods such as workshops not only produces experienced well-rounded music graduates but also helps speed up students' learning processes and often leads to improved learning in higher learning institutions (Kolb, Kolb, Passarelli, & Sharma, 2014). As educators we have to be aware of our role to present creative ways in teaching music so as to continuously engage students in learning, and for them to be able to musically communicate and express themselves. ...
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This study looked into a way experiential learning was incorporated into a music course by having students participate in a workshop led by a subject matter expert. In the workshop, Passepartout Duo's role as subject matter experts in the music field ensures an ideal experiential learning environment for composition music students to immerse themselves in order to develop new skills and knowledge. Passepartout Duo is a piano and percussion duo based in Germany, who performs and composes contemporary music. Passepartout Duo members are Nicoletta Favari (piano & keyboard) and Christopher Salvito (drums and percussion). The music composition workshop which ran for two consecutive days was presented in an informal group context introducing contemporary music. Participants and observers of the workshop included Malaysian music students of higher education institutions and professional composers. Participating composers composed original music pieces and worked together and were directly involved with Passepartout Duo in the creative processes required in creating their own music composition and the culmination of the workshop was a concert featuring music compositions from participating composers performed by the duo. Students attending the workshop were found to better grasp musical concepts, be more creative, and have a peek into the career as a composer. Implementing workshops into the music course also maximised learning for students and ensured the efficient development of the course.
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As student enrolments grow and student diversity increases in many areas of higher education, faculty face challenges to support and ensure individual student learning and development. At the same time, active and experiential approaches to learning are recognized for their potential to develop autonomy and critical thinking, among other valuable skills. However, such approaches are challenging to implement at scale and alter the educator’s role from a directive one to a more facilitating role. This article reports on a questionnaire with 66 business academics at a large Australian metropolitan university that examined teaching experiences at scale and identified perceived barriers and enablers of experiential learning in large classes. Academics reported their lived experiences of teaching at scale and revealed the need to recognize teaching practice as a highly networked and distributed activity. In experiential learning, and particularly in large classes, the locus of control for learning shifts to the student, leading to feelings of disorientation and disempowerment. We make several recommendations for teaching development, faculty, and future research.
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The 21st century is characterised by an influx of information from various sources. This presents the education field with both a challenge and opportunity in the teaching practice. Technology advancements have made it increasingly easy to share and access this information almost instantly. This presents the education field with both a challenge and opportunity in the teaching practice. The challenge is that not all the available information is useful or even meaningful, therefore the 21st century requires that students acquire the 4Cs (communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity) on how to engage with the information and not just receive it. The mandate on educational institutions is therefore to make use of technology-enhanced practices to facilitate acquisition of these skills. The implications are applicable to teacher training institutions includes the equipping of pre-service teachers with higher level thinking skills. 21C teacher educators should be modelling instructional strategies that are relevant to the demands of the modern age, more importantly these strategies should be technology-enhanced. The technology-enhanced instructional strategies should be informed by contemporary teaching and learning theories as well as technology integration frameworks. To this effect, the researcher’s original contribution to the body of knowledge was formulated – the ConTis model as elaborated on further below. Teaching with technology in teacher preparation programmes in South Africa should respond to the 21C skill requirements. Alarmingly, research in this area has continuously reported that TrEds are falling short in their teaching with technology. There is a consensus on the importance of technology integration, however, TrEds continue to use it merely as a substitution for traditional means of teaching. Contributing to this problem is the continued use of lecture-centred teaching strategies. There is a substantial amount of literature advocating for TrEds to start to adopting student-centred approached as supported by contemporary theories that argue that the best way to learn is to actively engage with knowledge and not be passive recipients. It was on this backdrop that the researcher developed the research question of this study: What do TrEds need to effectively prepare pre-service teachers to teach with technology in the 21C? To better understand and explain this phenomenon the researcher developed a conceptual framework based on teaching and constructivist teaching theory as well as technology integration framework To investigate this phenomenon, the researcher chose to design the research study following the interpretivist paradigm for its emphasis on social contexts and in-depth understanding of phenomenon of interest. On that, the researcher made use of qualitative data collection tools to – semi-structured interviews; non-participant observations as well as a focus group interviews. The research design used was a single case study as was data collection from TrEds of one teacher education institution in the Western Cape. The data collection was conducted over a period of eight months which allowed the researcher to intensively explore TrEds’ practices. The researcher made use of various sampling methods to ensure that the participants would be able to offer relevant information as they were constantly interacting with the phenomenon under study. The findings reveal that the majority of the participating TrEds were employing lecture-centred instructional strategies, whereby technology was used to support traditional teaching approaches. The participating TrEds, contrary to their perception on their technology integration skills as reported during interviews; were observed to be using the basic functions of mostly general technology applications. This use resulted in achieving low level teaching outcomes. The institution at which the study was conducted availed technology resources to the TrEds. However, there was a deficit on the relevance, maintenance and capacity of the technology which contributed to TrEds reluctance to integrate technology. From the findings, the researcher deduced that the failure to integrate technology effectively was due to the lack of a practical and holistic guide on how to teach with technology. The researcher, based on the data analysis and in response to this shortcomings, developed a model which the researcher coined “Constructivist Technology-enhanced Instructional strategies” (ConTIS) model which can be used as a diagnostic model for TrEds to self-assess their technology integration in their practices. The model is also useful to professional development intervention designers as they can use it to identify the gaps in technology integration. The researcher further argues that this be conducted at departments levels as the needs of TrEds may differ across teacher education institutions. The model is also useful as an evaluative model that helps educational technologist and TrEds continuously assess whether their currently adopted technology interventions are yielding the appropriate outcomes as per the teaching and learning theory employed by institution and or faculty. The implications of this study were to both TrEds’ practice as well as institutional policy development. The findings of the study highlighted the importance of institutions and the faculties within them to identify and adopt relevant contemporary teaching strategies as well as frameworks that are conducive to 21C teaching outcomes. The participating TrEds reported that their practice was not necessarily informed by any particular teaching and learning theory or technology integration framework, in fact some of them highlighted that they were not familiar with frameworks such as TPACK and PCK. Therefore, it is vital for institution’s policies to enforce that TrEds practice be based on prevailing teaching with technology developments. The limitations of the study were that the research study’s design was a single case study and therefore focused on one context which limits the generalisability of the findings as the phenomenon might be experienced differently in a different setting. A longitudinal case study may also be employed in order to conduct an even more indepth exploration of the phenomenon. It is possible that TrEd practice may have been presented as differently over time and the researcher would have discovered other factors affecting the phenomenon. The researcher therefore suggests that for further studies, researchers should perhaps conduct a comparative study by investigating how the phenomenon manifests in different contexts. Future studies may also conduct a longitudinal case study to allow for an intensive study of teacher educator practices and perhaps analyse any changes that may occur over time with the introduction of other technology interventions. The researcher also encourages that future studies be conducted to evaluate the practicality and effectiveness of the proposed ConTis model.
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Abstract The Kolb Learning Style Inventory version 4.0 (KLSI 4.0) revised in 2011, is the latest revision of the original Learning Style Inventory developed by David A. Kolb. Like its predecessors, the KLSI 4.0 is based on experiential learning theory (Kolb 1984) and is designed to help individuals identify the way they learn from experience. The Kolb Learning Style Inventory 4.0 is the first major revision of the KLSI since 1999 and the third since the original LSI was published in 1971. Based on many years of research involving scholars around the world and data from many thousands of respondents, the KLSI 4.0 includes four major additions-- A new nine learning style typology, assessment of learning flexibility, an expanded personal report focused on improving learning effectiveness, and improved psychometrics. The technical specifications are designed to adhere to the standards for educational and psychological testing developed by the American Educational Research Association, the American Psychological Association, and the National Council on Measurement in Education (1999). The first chapter describes the conceptual foundations of the LSI 3.1 in the theory of experiential learning (ELT). Chapter 2 provides a description of the inventory that includes its purpose, history, and format. Chapter 3 describes the characteristics of the KLSI 4.0 normative sample. Chapter 4 includes internal reliability and test-retest reliability studies of the inventory. Chapter 5 provides information about research on the internal and external validity for the instrument. Internal validity studies of the structure of the KLSI 4.0.1 using correlation and factor analysis are reported. External validity includes research on demographics, educational specialization, concurrent validity with other experiential learning assessment instruments, aptitude test performance, academic performance and experiential learning in teams. Chapter 6 describes the new Learning Flexibility Index including scoring formulas, normative data and validity evidence. In chapter 7 the current research on educational applications of ELT and the KLSI in many fields is reviewed. ©Experience Based Learning Systems 2013 www.learningfromexperience.com
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