Much research has been done into effective ways of learning. But we can cautiously say that learning is too complex an activity for conclusive theories.
Which is not to say that we are in the dark. An educational thinker who has stood the test of time is David Kolb. In the 1970s and 1980s, this learning psychologist developed an influential and useful concept about learning that can also be found in all of our InterACT WA Communication & Leadership training courses.
What is it?
Kolb divided the learning process into four phases. He saw them as cyclical, so he put them in a circle. Whoever wants to learn something, according to Kolb, must go through every phase of the circle. And not once, no, often you have to go through the circle a few times to get to what really matters: to learn more deeply.
Learning more deeply means: you can remember what you have learned and apply it in practice.
You don't have to be an educationalist to see that as a wonderful outcome of learning.
Kolb's four phases - concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualisation and active experimentation - are not only reflected in our training courses but also in our unique roleplay interventions with our professional roleplayers.
How does it work?
For example: During a roleplay with one of our professional actors the participant steps into a realistic, concrete experience (phase 1). The roleplay is then paused allowing for reflection on what happened (phase 2). The training facilitator and roleplay actor will then provide powerful feedback on the verbal and non-verbal communications, creating an insight into alternatives for the participant (phase 3). We then offer the opportunity to experience a 'second chance', so the learner can immediately enter learning phase four: experimenting with what they have learned, leading to a new concrete experience.
Depending on the complexity of the communication or leadership skill, the participant will remember what he has learned and apply it "in real life" after a number of rounds.
And there we have it! We’ve come full (Kolb) circle!
Would you like to learn more about how we dramatically change workplace training with our experiential programs?
Check us out at www.interactwa.com.au