Experiential learning Practice and Portfolio ZAP 101 - 104

This module is under re-development through co-design

Introduction to the module

This module provides material on the learning process and introduces Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle (1984). It is a precursor module to one on personality, which goes on to introduce some of the key psychological theorists in the area....


The objectives of this module are that participants will be able to:

  • Develop an understanding of the experiential learning process and key theories
  • Reflect on...


On completion, it is envisioned that participants will be able to:

  • Reflect on experiential learning and the potential implications of this on their education, career and personal development
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the experiential learning process and how to apply Kolb's (1984) theory

According to Mezirow (1990):

Learning is the process of making a new or revised interpretation and meaning of an experience, which guides subsequent understanding, appreciation and action.

Further to this, Boud (2003) notes that:

Learning at work is knowledge generated through work and all workplaces are potential sites of knowledge production.
How do we learn?

A reknown theorist in the area of experiential learning, Kolb (1984, p. 41) defines learning in the following way:

Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience. Knowledge results from the combination of grasping experience and transforming it.

The following video clip verbally describes the process of experiential learning (3:53) as an artist sketches the process and we recommend students watch this to gain a basic understanding of the main concepts.

Experiential Learning | 3:53 mins

The cycle of experiential learning developed by Kolb (1984) forms the basis of a model for reflective practice...

Figure 1 Kolb's, Experiential Learning cycle (Kolb, 1984)

Kolb's learning theory (Kolb & Fry, 1974) sets out four distinct learning styles, which are based on a four-stage learning cycle (see Figure 1). Kolb explains that different people naturally prefer a certain single different learning style. Various factors influence a person's preferred style.

PLEASE NOTE: This module is under re-development as at the 30th August 2017

Recommended Learning Activities


Mezirow, J., & Associates (1990). Fostering critical reflection in adulthood, San Francisco, Jossey‐Bass.

Bishop, Gillian and Blake, Joanne (2007) Reflective practice: A Guide to Reflective Practice with Workbook: For post graduate and post experience learners. Working Paper. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK. This version is available at http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/19114/

Jennifer Moon (2004)

Kolb and Fry (1974)

Kolb (1984)


Created with images by Wilfred de Kok - "Portfolio photo" • PublicDomainPictures - "baby boy child" • jill111 - "stack of books vintage books book" • Wokandapix - "learn word scrabble" • teamstickergiant - "Learning" • Unsplash - "person reading studyin" • Mimzy - "back to school pencils rainbow"

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