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Kolb/Gelb Learning Styles Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


David Kolb theorized about learning styles and experi­ential learning which are at the corner­stone of learning loops and cycles.

The theory has four distinct learning styles:
◾Concrete experience (related to feeling)
◾Refle­ctive observ­ation (watching)
◾Abstract concep­tua­liz­ation (thinking)
◾Active experi­men­tation (doing)

Four Learning Styles

Kolb contends that every person uses the four learning styles in different ways depending on their progre­ssion on a maturity path that spans acquis­ition (of basic abilities and cognitive struct­ures), specia­liz­ation (towards a specific learning style) and ultimately integr­ation (where other learning styles are also expressed / used in work and personal life). But he also contends that we cannot use two styles simult­ane­ously so we opt for either doing or watching and then either for thinking or feeling.

At the inters­ection of these two dialec­tical sets of choices, Kolb places his theory of preferred learning styles, as shown in the table

Theory of Preferred Learning Styles

Doing (Active Experi­men­tation – AE)
Watching (Refle­ctive Observ­ation – RO)
Feeling (Concrete Experience – CE)
Accomm­odating (CE/AE), i.e. hands-on, intuitive, relying on others’ inform­ation, group-work focused…
Diverging (CE/RO), i.e. making links between different approa­ches, interested in brains­tor­ming. Emotional, group work-f­ocused…
Thinking (Abstract Concep­tua­liz­ation – AC)
Converging (AC/AE), i.e. with a practical focus, interested in technical proble­ms/­sol­utions, specia­lis­t/t­ech­nol­ogical applic­ations…
Assimi­lating (AC/RO), i.e. logical, concise, interested in readings, lectures, analytical models…

Gelb Learning Styles

Peter Honey & Alan Mumford Elabor­ation

Gelb model has been elaborated on by Peter Honey and Alan Mumford. They relabeled the four preferred learning styles to use some labels that are more familiar to us:
Stage 1:‘Having an Experi­ence’, and Style 1- Activists: ‘here and now’, gregar­ious, seek challenge and immediate experi­ence, open-m­inded, bored with implem­ent­ation.
Stage 2.‘Rev­iewing the Experi­ence’ and Style 2- Reflec­tors: ‘stand back’, gather data, ponder and analyze, delay reaching conclu­sions, listen before speaking, though­tful.
Stage 3.‘Con­cluding from the Experi­ence’ and Style 3- Theorists : think things through in logical steps, assimilate disparate facts into coherent theories, rationally objective, reject subjec­tivity and flippancy.
Stage 4.‘Pla­nning the next steps’ and Style 4- Pragma­tists (style 4): seek and try out new ideas, practical, down-t­o-e­arth, enjoy problem solving and decisi­on-­making quickly, bored with long discus­sions.