/ kolb

Kolb's cycle

In this article, I want to present to you a Kolb's cycle. This cycle is about how people gain knowledge. There are four steps in this model:

  1. Concrete Experience
  2. Reflective observation
  3. Abstract Conceptualization (Theory/Logical conclusion)
  4. Active Experimentation (Practice/Testing/Action)

This cycle begins with an experience - learner does something that leads him/her to a reflection about the activity. Based on this reflection student search information about this experience or draws logical conclusions. With new knowledge about observation, learner starts a new experiment to use that information in practice.

This is a cycle so that you can start from any point of it, and it will still work.

Based on [1] I presented below some activities that support different elements of Kolb's cycle:

  1. Experience
  • laboratories,
  • observations,
  • primary text reading,
  • simulations/games,
  • field work,
  • trigger films,
  • examples
  1. Observations:
  • logs,
  • discussions,
  • brainstorming,
  • thought questions,
  • rhetorical questions
  1. Theory:
  • lecture,
  • papers,
  • model building,
  • projects,
  • analogies
  1. Practice:
  • simulations,
  • case study,
  • laboratory,
  • field work,
  • projects,
  • homework.

Now, I want to show you a Kolb's cycle using a simulation game. It's time to use theory in practice! To show you this cycle I use Kanban Pizza Game example.

You can find complete description of Kanban Pizza Game on website https://www.agile42.com/en/training/kanban-pizza-game/ in this artilce I want to focus only on Kolb's cycle.

In nutshell, this game is about creating pizzas using paper, marker and scissors.

During the first iteration, participants have to create as many pizzas as they could (EXPERIENCE). The clock stops, so they have to finish work and calculate their score. It usually occurs that the score is quite low, so they want to change that situation (REFLECTION/OBSERVATION). Trainer introduces Kanban and core practices like visualise the Workflow, manage Flow, feedback loops or limit work in progress (THEORY). Teams adapt new knowledge to the actual situation in the game, and we can start the second interation (PRACTICE).

This method of learning is based on an actual need of particular information. In this moment of meeting/game, team members want to gain knowledge about Kanban, and they can immediately try it in practice. At the end of a game, a facilitator has to start a discussion with participants about using this method in their daily work and encourage them to try it!

What do you think about Kolb's cycle? In the next article, I want to say some words about simulation games and show you where you can find some of them!

[1] Svinicki, Manilla D., and Nancy M. Dixon. "The Kolb model modified for classroom activities." College Teaching 35.4 (1987): 141-146.