Learning dynamics

KOLB Learning Style Inventory

David A. Kolb (born 1939), an American educational theorist, is renowned for his Learning Style Inventory (LSI ). He published this model in “Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development’ (1984). This is also based on earlier work with Roger Fry in the seventies. His theory provides basic concepts towards the understanding of learning behaviour. His model was developed predominantly for use with adult education, and now has found widespread application in higher and adult education. LSI stated that learning is a process whereby knowledge is created through transformation of experience. It presents a cyclical model of learning, which consists of four stages, that can be repeated:

1. concrete experience (do)

2. reflective observation (think)

3. abstract conceptualization (plan)

4. active experimentation (observe)

These four elements are the essence of a learning cycle that normally starts with a clear experience.

Kolb's model works on two levels: in addition to providing a theory of experimental learning, that can be applied generally. At the same time the model provides a way to understand individual learning styles. Students are placed on a line between concrete experience and abstract conceptualization; and active experimentation and reflective observation. This results in four types of learners: converger (active experimentation-abstract conceptualization), accommodator (active experimentation-concrete experience), assimilator (reflective observation-abstract conceptualization), and diverger (reflective observation-concrete experience)

The learning preferences can be represented as quadrants in a learning circle. In this circle, the different phases in the learning process are given, as well as the different types of learners.

David A. Kolb Retrieved July 1, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=David_A._Kolb&oldid=435639227

Jan Vermunt, Learning preferences and learning styles

Jan Vermunt is a professor in Education at the University of Utrecht (Netherlands). In 1992 he became a PhD by successfully defending his dissertation, entitled ‘Learning Styles and Directing Learning Processes in Higher Education’. He defines learning style as ‘a coherent whole of learning activities that students usually employ, their learning orientation and their mental model of learning’.

His research showed that there was a connection between the opinions that students had about their studies and their motivation on the one hand and their learning and regulatory activities on the other hand. Based on these relationships four learning styles were defined, also known as the Inventory of Learning Styles (ILS) of Jan Vermunt: meaning-directed, reproduction-directed, application-directed and undirected learning styles. The prototypical learning styles are not mutually exclusive.

Meaning-directed (constructive) style

Students with this style are looking for connections in study substance, trying to introduce structure, and have a critical attitude towards study material (in-depth processing). Self-determination in study approach and emphasis on study material (self-direction). Studying is acquisition of knowledge and insights; personally interested and strongly motivated.

Reproduction-directed style

Rote learning, frequent repetition of study material and attention to detail (progressive approach). Guidance by teaching staff. Study is seen as absorption of knowledge. Orientation on passing exams, obtaining a diploma, and testing one’s own capacities.

Application-directed style

Attempts to apply in practice what one has learned (concrete processing). Study is seen as learning to use the acquired knowledge. Requires clear information and examples, and has an orientation to future employment (job-oriented learning orientation).

Undirected style

Students with this style have problems to direct their own learning. Limited use of instructions in study material or of directions from teachers (uncontrolled regulatory strategy). Education has to be stimulating. Cooperation is sought with peers. Uncertainty with regard to studies (ambivalent learning orientation): doubts as to whether capable of completing studies and of correct choice of study

Definitions translated from Leerstijl. Retrieved April 5, 2010 from: http://nl.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Leerstijl&oldid=20665275.

Learning styles and pedagogy in post-16 learning. A systematic and critical review: http://www.hull.ac.uk/php/edskas/learning%20styles.pdf

Leerstijlen. Retrieved March 20, 2010 from: http://www.5ramen.wikispaces.com/3+-+Leerstijlen

Johari Window

The Johari Window is a simple and useful model for illustrating and improving self-awareness, interpersonal communication and relationships between individuals within a group. It is a cognitive psychological tool created by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingram (USA, 1955). They called their model 'Johari' after the combination of their first names, Joe and Harry.

Today the Johari Window is especially relevant because of the interest in society in 'soft' skills, behaviour, empathy, cooperation, inter-group development and interpersonal development

The four Johari Windows are also called regions, rooms or quadrants. Each of these contains information about the person, in terms of whether the information is known or unknown by the person him/herself and by others in the group.

An empty Johari window, with the rooms arranged clockwise, starting with room 1 at the top left. The rooms can be modified to reflect the relevant proportions of each type of 'knowledge'.

Luft, J. and Ingham, H. (1955) The Johari window, a graphic model of interpersonal awareness. Proceedings of the Western Training Laboratory in Group Development. Los Angeles: UCLA Extension Office, MESA AF, 1997.

Incompetent - competent

In psychology, the four stages of competence, or the "conscious competence" learning model, relates to the psychological states involved in the process of progressing from incompetence to competence. The origin of the conscious competence theory is not completely clear, although the US Gordon Training International organisation has played a major role in defining it and in promoting its use. The model has also been attributed to Abraham Maslow on the basis of ’The Four Stages of Learning’ (1954).

The conscious competence model clarifies the process and stages of learning a new skill, behaviour, ability, technique, etc. It provides a simple clarification of how we learn, and a useful reminder of the need to train people effectively in stages.

The model suggests that individuals are initially unaware of how little they know, or unconscious of their incompetence. As they recognise their incompetence, they consciously acquire skills, and then consciously use these skills. Eventually, skills can be performed without consciously being thought through, and the individual is then said to have unconscious competence. The progression in skills is from stage 1 through 2 and 3 to 4. It is not possible to jump stages.

Several elements, including helping someone 'to know what they don't know' or recognize a blind spot, can be compared to some elements of a Johari window, although Johari deals with self-awareness, while the Four Stages of Competence deal with learning stages.

The Four Stages

  1. Unconscious Incompetence. As an unconscious incompetent, you do not know what you do not know or cannot do. You may not necessarily recognize the usefulness of developing requisite skills

2. Conscious Incompetence . As a conscious incompetent, you realize that you are not as expert as you thought you were or thought you could be. You recognize the value of new skills in addressing a deficit.

  1. Conscious Competence. The individual understands or knows how to do something. Becoming consciously competent often takes a while, as you steadily learn about the new area, either through experience or more formal learning. Conscious involvement is required in executing new skills.

  2. Unconscious Competence. At this level your new skills become habits, and you perform the task without conscious effort and with automatic ease.



SWOT analysis

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. SWOT analysis is commonly used in strategic planning. It is a method for analysing a project and usually represents the first stage of planning. It can also be used for reviewing strategy, status and progress of a business venture or other project. Performing a SWOT analysis is relatively simple.

The technique is credited to