Have you ever thought about how different learning styles can lead to varying outcomes?

In today’s world, there is an emphasis on practical and interactive learning. Book learning or the theoretical approach is not as influential as it used to be. The focus nowadays is on applied learning.

Different learning styles can create different impacts. That’s the reason why different football coaches inspire different levels of performance from the same player.

It is important for a mentor, teacher, or coach to create a learning style that suits the ability of the learner and meets their needs.

Keeping that in mind, American educational theorist David Kolb published his theory of experiential learning in 1984. His theory has two components: the learning styles and the learning cycle.

Let’s first look at the learning style. Kolb suggested that there are four different kinds of learning styles:

  1. Diverging

  2. Assimilating

  3. Converging

  4. Accommodating

Let’s find out more about Kolb learning styles and Kolb’s learning cycle in this article!

Kolb’s Learning Styles

By focusing on Kolb’s learning styles, teachers can ensure that practical and useful learning is imparted to the students. They can identify the learning style that the student is most comfortable with and tailor their approach accordingly.

Let’s now take a deeper look at the four types of  Kolb’s learning styles.

  1. Diverging

This style is seen in the kind of person who typically has a different perspective. They are more interested in observing things than taking action. Such people are proficient in using their imagination and creativity.

They are likely to use concrete experience and reflective observation.

  1. Assimilating

Here, the focus is on people who can take an analytical look at things. They focus on concepts and tasks, and not so much on interpersonal relationships.

You can categorize them based on their preference for abstract conceptualization and reflective observation.

  1. Converging

The people in this category are adept at problem-solving.  They are perceived as being quite practical in the way they assess ideas and tasks.

They are likely to focus only on the answers they desire. They display attributes of abstract conceptualization and actual experimentation.

  1. Accommodating

People with this learning style are realistic and practical in their approach to learning. They have a tendency to use their intuition in analyzing and solving problems. Individuals in this group rely on their gut feelings.

They are always eager to face new challenges. They display the traits of concrete experience and active experimentation.

Kolb’s Learning Cycle

Kolb’s learning cycle is a cyclic and experiential model of learning that involves four stages.

Let’s take a look at the four stages of Kolb’s learning cycle:

  1. Concrete Learning

The first stage of this cycle is concrete learning or concrete experience. This is the phase where you encounter a new experience or cultivate a new perspective.

In this stage, we familiarize ourselves with something new or learn a fresh technique to perform a task.

  1. Reflective Observation

The next stage of Kolb’s learning cycle is known as Reflective Observation. Here the learner evaluates his experience at  a personal level. For a lot of people, this is the stage where they not only observe and perform but also reflect on their actions. It results in real-time absorption of learning materials and techniques. This learning helps the person understand how to achieve a goal and how to take action in different circumstances.

  1. Abstract Conceptualization

In this stage of the experiential learning theory, you can use the insights gained by you in the previous stage to alter existing abstract ideas.

In this stage, the learners get an opportunity to see how the ideas they have learned in the previous stage can be useful in the real world. They are also able to modify ideas based on their reflections in the previous stage.

  1. Active Experimentation

The final stage of Kolb’s learning cycle is known as Active Experimentation. In this stage, the learner applies newly-acquired ideas and concepts in real-life situations and observes whether there are any changes in the cycle.

The experiences thus gained become the starting point for the next cycle. The duration of one cycle is not fixed and may vary.


By learning about Kolb’s experiential learning theory, we can create a highly effective learning model for our colleagues and students.

The four stages of Kolb’s learning e cycle help learners leverage their concrete experiences by reflecting on them and subsequently modifying their ideas.

Harappa Education has created an excellent course titled ‘Learning Expertly’ which focuses on Kolb’s experiential learning theory through a specific module titled ‘Kolb’s Learning Cycle.’ This course helps the learner understand the various aspects of Kolb’s experiential learning theory and use them to improve individual skill-sets.

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Explore topics such as Learning From Experience, the Learning ProcessPeople Management & the Process of Learn, Unlearn and Relearn from our Harappa Diaries blog section and hone strategically thinking skills in business.

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