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Important Characteristics Of Kolb Reflective Cycle


Task: Provide a short note on Kolb's reflective cycle.


This model of the reflective cycle was being introduced by renowned researcher David Kolb in his paper of learning style model in the year 1984. The learning theory and concept of the Kolb reflective cycle operate on two various levels which are four separate learning styles and the four-stage cycle of learning. In the Kolb reflective cycle, the psychological and the cognitive progression in the individualistic level is analyzed. As per the theory and ideology of Kolb reflective consists of selecting a better and appropriate concept that would suit the business process or the working environment in all the aspects of the work. This theory provides the motive for the evaluation of new aspects and happenings in the firm. For a student who has selected psychology as his mainstream should grasp various theories in the respective field and should ascertain the significance and scope of the field. The Kolb reflective cycle is one such theory that should be analyzed and byhearted by the students. In this process, various stages of the process are being classified and arranged systematically for analysis.

A summary of Kolb reflective cycle of learning
As per the observation of David Kolb, a person experiences a series of activities and occurrences of various happenings that would make it very imminent for the need for in-depth analysis and reflection of their thought processes. The thought process and observation of the participating individual are being recorded and then are being analyzed by keeping in mind the theories and other previously recorded researches to recognize some new interventions and breakthroughs. This would provide an innovative approach and hidden and unnoticed risks about the business process or other individual activities which would help immensely in upgrading the process. David Kolb has mentioned in his work that the normal person goes through a series of experience which needs very meticulous analysis.

As discussed above, the processes followed in the learning processes of Kolb reflective cycle which consists of a four-stage learning cycle which should be taken very seriously and all of its perspectives should be covered meticulously.


Figure 1

  • In the first step of Concrete Experience provides the very first introduction to the unknown situation takes place and the situation is being reiterated to elucidate the scope and importance of it. The individualistic approach s being analyzed by keeping in mind every aspect. The analysis would be more psychological and the inner thought process of the person is being tested. The person’s ability to adapt with the new adeptness to the new circumstances and his open-mindedness would be evaluated.
  • The second step which is denoted to be the Reflective Observation of the New Experience evaluates further the significance of the relative and subsequent affairs and experiences to distinguish any sort of disparity or breach of processes. The individual narrates the experience and his observations regarding a specific event in this stage. In this stage of the analysis the individual relies on the inner thoughts regarding the experiences and his nature of business would reflect in this section. Hence the perspective and opinion of the person and his skills could also be analyzed in this section of the reflective cycle.
  • The following stage of the reflective observation of the new experience would be Abstract Conceptualization would focus on the introduction of a new idea from the experience faced and then after the concept is further built so that a better outcome should be devised out. This stage truly depends on what lesson the person has perceived or learned from the respective situation. This would in a subtle way also evaluate the presence of mind and adaptability of the individual with the respective situation. All of the aspects like ideologies, logic, theories, thought process, reasoning mentality, etc. are being studied in this stage.
  • The last stage of this cycle consists of Active Experimentation, which tests the developed ideology by implying it in real-life situations.

Although the learning stages are discussed here, to discuss further progress of the individual in the experience.

Cycle of four stages in Kolb Reflective Cycle

Fig: Cycle of four stages

  1. Experience: Before the documentation of an effective reflection, the individual should have very relevant and concrete experience regarding a subject.
  2. Reflection: The experience is being followed by the stage of reflection and in this stage, the individual is expected to document the relevant experience he has gone through so that a very good clarity and transparency should be maintained about the experience occurred.
  3. Test: In this stage, the documented experience is being analyzed by keeping in mind certain parameters and thus a very genuine conclusion is being devised which backs up the relevance of the experience.
  4. The cycle again comes to an end at the parameter of experience since the obtained conclusion is being utilized to develop a better methodology and hypothesis that could be implied to overcome similar problems or issues.

The process of the learning was perceived by Kolb as a very assimilated process of which each section and stage bears its importance in its very efficient execution. The process could not be carried out efficiently by avoiding any stage and hence the meticulous and systematic execution of each stage is very important.

The process of learning followed in the Kolb Reflective Process.
As per the observations and the opinion of Kolb every different individual tends to prefer a different and unique style of learning which suits his personality. Depending on the style of learning adopted by the individual, the degree of impact of determinant factors fluctuates. These factors would include elements like the format of the general cognitive, social environment, and educational experience. As per Kolb the actual way of references made by an individual be the consequential product of the decisions or the choices made by the individual that was denoted by him as a line of axis. It was being made clear by him that multiple variables or parameters could not be considered simultaneously in a single axis.

Kolb Reflective Cycle

Figure 3

Diverging (Feeling and watching CE/RO)
The person who follows the system of Kolb's reflective cycle would be able to look at the hidden aspects and thus build up a unique perspective for the experience. The individual would be more observant rather than a participant. The participant relies on his thought process and imagination to evaluate the experience or case study by reckoning all of the happenings. Since this context led to the generation of very innovative and unique ideas, Kolb used the term divergent to signify the original meaning of the context. The context of diverging a very high level and quality process of idea generation and immense brainstorming. The person who involves himself in the process of diverging, would possess a broad mindset regarding various cultures and also display a very good efficiency in gathering the relevant data.

A very to the point and rational methodology is being adopted by the participant when he adopts the learning style of Assimilation. In this approach, the involved people only come secondary to the opinions and ideologies involved in the process. Hence the participant would be focussing more on the reasoning and thought generating processes. The technical values and aspects are only given with a minimal level of significance. This is being sorted out in this way since the numerical values don't cover the psychological aspects. The person who selects the process methodology of Assimilation would prefer to read the pieces of literature under the genre of fiction and some psychological experiences since it aid in uncovering the thought process and measures the reasoning capacity of the participant.

The person who opts for this sort of analysis would be able to efficiently find the solution for any potential problem and thus propose a better and innovative way to approach a certain type of issue. In this particular form of approach, the psychological factors are not given as much significance as that on the technical and numerical values. This approach thus is majorly utilized by the people prefer to work based on conventional ideas and hypothesis. Hence it would follow a very systematic and strict methodology to arrive at a correct and relevant solution. There is no much focus on interpersonal problems and hence the approach is very limited in its approach. Although the people who tend to adapt to this converging theory possess a piece of great knowledge regarding the technological and theoretical aspects and hence could be very effective in handling the practical situations.

There is no logic is involved in this approach and thus the analysis depends on the instincts of the participating individual's mind. In this form of approach, the individual instead of using his logic, the participant tries to refer to an evaluation which was conducted earlier by someone else in a similar context to arrive at a very practical solution. It has been observed by the researchers that the individuals who try to imply the Accommodation tool are more inclined towards facing new challenges and conducting new experiments.

As mentioned earlier, the participant only relies on his gut feeling to find a solution for the imminent situation negating the scope of logic. The individuals in this context don't have the skill to analyze the situation and hence rely on the experts to find the seriousness and impact of the happenings and observations. Most of the population in the world follows this type of analysis since they lack some effective skills to evaluate their own experience.

The researchers all very the world have conducted many tests on the Kolb reflective cycle and is being strongly promoted by them to others in the academic and corporate field. The implementation of Kolb's reflective cycle had opened revealed many possibilities and opportunities in the field of an individual, team, and institutional development. It was being discovered by Kolb that the participants tend to only recognize the messages or lessons from the experience after they have witnessed the cycle of occurrences. These experiences consist of some stages which would help in effectively reflecting the experiences of the participant which could be thereafter saved or recorded for further evaluation that can contribute much to the development and advancements in the concerned field. Although he had also warned the academic community that the failure to commit any of the steps in the Kolb reflective cycle would sabotage the whole reflective process. This situation would lead the authority in drafting a very below par strategy which would turn out to be very detrimental for the firm. The thought process of the individuals could be analyzed to understand various methods in different stages of the reflective cycle. The coming decades have contributed much to the corporate world by implementing effectively the Kolb reflective cycle for data extraction in the firms working all around the globe.

Before the introduction of Kolb's reflective cycle, the ideology of the learning style models was not given the required focus and lacked effective channels to utilize the learning methods. The new advancements in science and technology like the introduction of social media platforms, e technology, etc. have posed great challenges to the old and mundane type of data extraction programs. The introduction of smartphones to the population had challenged and sabotaged the conventional methods to its root. The person should possess characteristics like good listening skills, innovative strategies for learning, adaptivity, etc. to become a good listener.

Academic Implications
The Kolb reflective cycle could be utilized by the academicians in the institutes to ascertain the learning processes and its efficiency followed by the students while pursuing their courses. It is the duty of the teachers and professors that the student should get most of the lessons from his experience and should select a better learning strategy by recognizing his strengths and weak points. The students could work on the weaker sections and thus could maintain a higher quality of learning process which could make him much skillful after completing the course. The student should imply all the stages very diligently to get most of the benefits from the process and should set an example for others so that everyone shouldn't have to start the process of analysis from scratch. Kolb reflective cycle assignments are being prepared by our nursing assignment help experts from top universities which let us to provide you a reliable best assignment help service.

Reference List
Kolb, D. A. (1976). The Learning Style Inventory: Technical Manual. McBer & Co, Boston, MA.

Kolb, D. A. (1981). Learning styles and disciplinary differences. The modern American college, 232-255.

Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development (Vol. 1).

Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Kolb, D. A., & Fry, R. E. (1974). Toward an applied theory of experiential learning . MIT Alfred P. Sloan School of Management.

Kolb, D. A., Rubin, I. M., & McIntyre, J. M. (1984). Organizational psychology: readings on human behavior inorganizations. Prentice Hall.


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