David A. Kolb bigraphy, stories - Psychologists

David A. Kolb : biography

1939 -

David A. Kolb (born 1939) is an American educational theorist whose interests and publications focus on experiential learning, the individual and social change, career development, and executive and professional education. He is the founder and chairman of , and a Professor of Organizational Behavior in the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.

Kolb earned his BA from Knox College in 1961 and his MA and Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1964 and 1967 respectively, in social psychology.

Learning Style Inventory

Kolb is renowned in educational circles for his Learning Style Inventory (LSI). His model is built upon the idea that learning preferences can be described using two continuums: active experimentation-reflective observation and abstract conceptualization-concrete experience. The result is 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 LSI is designed to determine an individual's learning preference.


Experiential learning

In the early 1970s, Kolb and Ron Fry (now both at the Weatherhead School of Management) developed the Experiential Learning Model (ELM),Kolb. D. A. and Fry, R. (1975) Toward an applied theory of experiential learning. in C. Cooper (ed.), Theories of Group Process, London: John Wiley. composed of four elements:

  • concrete experience,
  • observation of and reflection on that experience,
  • formation of abstract concepts based upon the reflection,
  • testing the new concepts,
  • (repeat).

These four elements are the essence of a spiral of learning that can begin with any one of the four elements, but typically begins with a concrete experience. He named his model to emphasize its links to ideas from John Dewey, Jean Piaget, Kurt Lewin, and other writers of the experiential learning paradigm. His model was developed predominantly for use with adult education, but has found widespread pedagogical implications in higher education.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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