Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Experiential Learning Cycle

Consulting and Studying the Experiential Learning Cycle for Team Development - I refer to this model below. The concept of it being more dynamic than the Kolb Experiential Learning Cycle, the Jarvis Model increases the learning and retention of participants who are more model learning stimulated. Also as a Team Development and Team Building Consultant with adult learners, this aids in developing programs and workshops to be effective.

Peter Jarvis on (experiential) learning;
Jarvis (1987, 1995) set out to show that there are a number of responses to the potential learning situation. He used Kolb's model with a number of different adult groups and asked them to explore it based on their own experience of learning. He was then able to develop a model of which allowed different routes. Some of these are non-learning, some non-reflective learning, and some reflective learning. To see these we need to trace out the trajectories on the diagram he produces.

Jarvis' Experiential Learning Cycle


Presumption (boxes 1-4). This is where people interact through patterned behaviour. Saying hello etc.

Non-consideration (1-4). Here the person does not respond to a potential learning situation.

Rejection (boxes 1-3 to 7 to 9).


Pre-conscious (boxes 1-3 to 6 to either 4 or 9). This form occurs to every person as a result of having experiences in daily living that are not really thought about. Skimming across the surface.

Practice (boxes 1-3 to 5 to 8 to 6 to either 4 or 9). Traditionally this has been restricted to things like training for a manual occupation or acquiring particular physical skills. It may also refer to the acquisition of language itself.

Memorization (boxes 1-3 to 6 and possibly 8 to 6 and then either to 4 or 9)

Reflective learning:

Contemplation (boxes 1-3 to 7 to 8 to 6 to 9). Here the person considers it and makes an intellectual decision about it.

Reflective practice (boxes 1-3 (to 5) to 7 to 5 to 6 to 9). This is close to what Schön describes as relfection on and in action.

Experiential learning (boxes 1-3 to 7 to 5 to 7 to 8 to 6 to 9). The way in which pragmatic knowledge may be learned.

While this represents a useful addition to our thinking about learning, a number of problems remain. There is still an issue around sequence - many things may be happening at once, but Jarvis' model falls into trap of stage thinking. As with Kolb's work there is a limited experimental base to support it. We can also ask questions as to whether these are different forms or routes - or can they grouped together in a different and more compact way.

- Michael Cardus serves as an Adventure Consultant for Create-Learning Team Building. Mike facilitates, trains, and speaks to groups in a variety of settings including Fortune 500 Companies, small business, universities and classrooms. Currently he lives in Buffalo NY, he travels to serve your groups needs - where and when your group desires.