Kolb’s Learning Styles: How They Help Students

Kolb's Learning Styles

One of the most well-known and commonly used learning styles theories is Kolb’s. In 1984, psychologist David Kolb presented his concept of learning styles for the first time.

The unique learning styles, he felt, arise as a result of our genetics, past experiences, and the needs of our current environment. Kolb established a theory of experiential learning and a learning style inventory in addition to defining four different learning styles.

But, how does this approach to learning help students in private and international schools? Before we get into it, let’s have a look at Kolb’s learning styles.


Kolb’s Four Stages of Learning

1. Concrete Experience

The first step in Kolb’s learning process is to have a concrete experience. This might be a whole new experience or a recreated version of an existing one. Each student in the school is expected to participate in an activity or task to gain concrete experience.

Involvement, according to Kolb, is the key to learning. It is insufficient for students to simply read about or witness an experience. Learners must actively participate in the experience to gain new knowledge.


2. Reflective Observation

At this stage, the learner takes a step back after engaging in the concrete experience to reflect on the activity. This stage of the learning cycle allows the learner to ask questions and talk with others about their experiences.

At this point, communication is critical because it helps the learner to discover any gaps between their knowledge and the experience. A solid review of the events that took place is also possible with a good vocabulary.


3. Abstract Conceptualization

Making meaning of these occurrences is the next phase in the learning cycle. By reflecting on prior knowledge, applying concepts they are familiar with or debating plausible theories with peers, the learner seeks to draw inferences from the experience.

When the students in schools begin to classify concepts and draw judgments about what happened, they shift from introspective observation to abstract conceptualization. This entails analyzing the event and drawing parallels with their present grasp of the idea.

Learners can assess new information and adjust their findings based on previously held beliefs; concepts do not have to be new.


4. Active Experimentation

This is the testing phase of the cycle. Students return to a task, this time to apply what they’ve learned to new situations.

They can create predictions, assess tasks, and make plans based on what they’ve learned. You can ensure that information is kept in the future by allowing learners to put their knowledge into practice and demonstrate how it is relevant to their life.


What are the Benefits of the Learning Model to Students?

Knowing the stages above can help us create learning experiences for students that will improve their overall skills and talents. Kolb combines these four elements to produce four total learning dimensions, which are given below. Apparently, not all students learn in the same way.


a. Diverging

These students look at things from several angles. They like to watch rather than do and can be creative in their general learning styles by using their imaginations. Concrete experience and reflective observation are the two learning characteristics used by such students.


b. Assimilating

These students excel in exploring and analyzing models. They are more concerned with ideas and jobs than with interpersonal relationships. Abstract conceptualisation and contemplative observation might be two of their qualities.


c. Converging

These students are good problem solvers and are thought to be very realistic when it comes to analyzing ideas and tasks. They are characterized by abstract conceptualisation and active exploration, and they tend to converge on the solutions they desire.


d. Accommodating

These students have a more practical approach to learning and like to approach challenges from an intuitive standpoint. They may rely heavily on intuition. They like new challenges and are likely to be marked by concrete experiences and active experimentation.



Kolb’s learning model helps students become more adaptable to a variety of educational environments. Furthermore, Kolb’s learning styles and experiential learning cycle enable students to translate information into real and practical concepts or theories.

As a result, this approach has been useful in incorporating learning processes into classroom activities. It’s used in a variety of multidisciplinary areas, including business and management, geography, nursing, and history, to name a few.

In Malaysia, the learning styles are often adopted in private and international schools, whereas the government school usually adopt a more rigid, traditional learning style.