How much do I want to read more? 6/10
Learning should be both experimental and mental, thus the 4 steps: experience, reflect, think, and act.
Interesting perspective underlining the key difference with learning at school:
"This is quite different from the model of learning where information transferred from the teacher to the learner is meant to be memorized for later recall and testing.
In the linear model, the learner is a passive recipient of information, whereas in the cycle of learning, learners receive information through experiences, reflect on it, think about it abstractly to connect it with related information, and then use it to take action. Here, we are both receivers of information and creators of information."
We are a vast ocean of possibilities, and shape our own lives through the learning experiences:
"We are shaped by our experiences, but through learning we have the transformative power to choose the experiences that are most fulfilling in order to shape our destiny."
[quote, Sandy Carter]
“As a leadership development coach and continual learner, I loved this book! The authors expertly demonstrate the importance of maximizing our potential through recognizing and developing our personal learning styles. They stress how critical this process is for navigating modern, complex, and ever-changing environments. This book offers assistance through a compelling blend of science, reflective exercises, and real-life examples. I highly recommend it for you, your clients, family, and friends.”
[quote, Nancy White]
“I strongly recommend this book to learners who seek to progress in life, who might be by choice or unexpectedly in transition, or who feel there is more to life than just finding your niche of happiness through pure strengths. Knowing your strengths is imperative, yet having the vision to expand your strengths is inspiring.”
[quote, Don Iannone]
“In their book, How You Learn Is How You Live, Kay Peterson and David Kolb have gifted us with a highly understandable and eminently practical guidebook on experiential learning and its importance to everything we do in life. In our pressured world of skill shortages and talent gaps, this book is recommended reading for every employer, teacher, guidance counselor, workforce developer, and economic developer concerned about creating the workforce of the future. Learning by doing has eclipsed traditional educational and training and development strategies because it works far better. Learning is a leading source of competitive advantage in today’s fast-changing global economy.”
[quote, Richard Boyatzi]
“If you have ever wondered how you learn or why others around you may not be adapting and changing, this book will enlighten you. Read it, absorb it, and you will never talk to your children, colleagues, students, patients, or clients the same way!”
Since the first time I read David Kolb’s classic book Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development, I have been hooked on the power of its message: we all learn from experience, and by engaging in the four-phase learning cycle, we can learn almost anything.
If this book marks your first introduction to experiential learning, then you are in for a life-altering experience.
His work on experiential learning cycle is among the most influential approaches to learning.
One of the key insights I gained from this book is the power of learning flexibility. Learning flexibility describes our potential to change and adapt. Many of us find change difficult, and this difficulty at change can be traced to our learning style preference. We can get stuck and rely only on a limited set of learning tools. This book describes how to embrace change and move beyond our comfort zone.
The ultimate promise of this book is that you, too, will learn how to enrich your life, experience events more deeply, and understand situations with greater clarity.
A guide to awakening the power of learning that lies within us—to show how we can increase our capability to learn from experience throughout our lives, in each and every moment.
To say that experience is the best teacher is an understatement—it is our only teacher.
We are totally enveloped by our experience like a fish is by water.
We awake each day to swim in our stream of conscious experience, surrounded once again by the ongoing story of our lives: the trials and tragedies, hopes and dreams, family, friends, and coworkers who make up our world.
How we make sense of it all to find meaning, purpose, and direction in our lives is called learning from experience, or experiential learning.
Practices that are based on experiential learning include service learning, problem-based learning, action learning, adventure education, and simulation and gaming.
The learning way begins with the awareness that learning is present in every life experience and is an invitation for us to be engaged in each one. We become aware that we are learning, how we are learning, and—perhaps most importantly—what we are learning.
Many people think of themselves as having a fixed identity, believing that they are incapable of changing. At the extreme, if you do not believe that you can learn, you won’t.
Chapter One - The Learning Way
[quote, Thomas Wolfe]
Each thing he learned was so simple and so obvious once he grasped it, that he wondered why he had not always known it.
Other ways of living tempt us with immediate gratification at our peril.
The learning way requires deliberate effort to create new knowledge in the face of uncertainty and failure.
The key is to use the process of learning as a guide. Oprah Winfrey says it well: “I am a woman in process. I’m just trying like everybody else. I try to take every conflict, every experience, and learn from it. Life is never dull.”
Experiencing as the Gateway to Learning
Without new experiences there can be no real learning. We only recombine and reiterate what we already know. Opening ourselves to new experiences and living those experiences fully with awareness in the moment is necessary for learning, renewal, and growth. Yet our habits and beliefs tend to engage automatically, turning a new experience into an old pattern of response. Ironically, what we think we know can be the greatest barrier to our learning.
Daniel Kahneman says that we actually have two selves—an experiencing self and a remembered thinking self.
Our experiencing self perceives and registers our feelings and reactions to every moment of our lives.
For the experiencing self, life is a succession of momentary experiences—happiness, sadness, amazement, boredom, curiosity, love, pain—that exist only in the present and are soon replaced by another feeling. In ancient Theraveda Buddhism this succession of experiences is depicted as a string of pearls.
The remembered thinking self is like the string that holds together the pearls of our experiences. The pearls and the string together form the story of our lives—what we think and feel and who we are.
The way that we remember our experiences is very different than the active process of experiencing—our minds create illusions that impact how we remember experiences.
As children we are guided primarily by our experiencing process and as a result are spontaneous, authentic, and able to easily embrace contradiction and change. As we grow older our remembered thinking self takes charge. Our experiences are impacted by memories, beliefs, and values that are not always relevant.
Carl Rogers argues that the mature adult needs to recapture the child’s capacity to experience directly. He describes this as a process of “letting oneself down into the immediacy of what one is experiencing, endeavoring to sense and to clarify all its complex meanings.”
He explains that adults experience not only the present moment but also their memories of the past and predictions about the future, so they must strive to consciously interpret each experience anew.
Creating Ourselves by Learning
Much of who we are is determined by what we have learned from our life experiences. As we have seen, experiences matter, but we use the meaning we make of them to define ourselves.
In some spiritual traditions we humans are thought to be basically asleep, going through life in a semiconscious way, strangely disengaged from our own lives. The learning way is about awakening to attend consciously to our experiences and then to deliberately choose how they influence our beliefs and choices. The spiral of learning from experience—experiencing, reflecting, thinking, and acting—is the process by which we can consciously choose, direct, and control our life.
The Learning Life Force
The learning way is about awakening the learning life force that lies within all of us. It is a power that we share with all living things.
autopoeisis, the continual process of remaking ourselves through learning from experience.
The basic example of autopoeisis is the biological cell with a nucleus and boundary membrane made up of nucleic acids and proteins, and it happens at every level of a system. The bounded structures of the cell like the nucleus and membrane rely on external energy and molecules to produce the cell components that maintain these. Learning from conscious experience is the highest form of this autopoetic learning life force. Every human invention and achievement is the result of this process. The great humanistic psychologist, Abraham Maslow, described the process as “self-actualization”—the human motivation to fulfill our full potential.
We develop and grow as human beings through learning As children we acquire the basic skills we need to survive. In our early adult years we strive to find a specialization that suits our interests and gives us a place to fit in to society. But we are not done growing when we finish our formal education or even when we successfully arrive at the top of a chosen profession.
A Life of Moral Purpose
Carl Rogers maintains that our internal process of deep experiencing is a highly developed way of knowing the good, the true, and the beautiful.
He believes that we developed this process through centuries of evolution, making it acutely attuned to survival not only of the individual but all of humanity.
Deep experiencing means paying attention to and learning from our experiences; doing so helps us develop as both individuals and members of communities, benefiting the whole of humanity.
Learning as a Humble Way
To learn requires giving up the certainty that we know something. We must be open to seeing new possibilities. We must recognize that we can only drink from the ocean of experience teacup by teacup and that our previous conceptions must always be tested by new information—we must be humble learners.
Humble learners are fully aware of their talents and abilities but also know their limitations. Recognizing that they are always in the process of learning allows them to admit limitations and mistakes and be willing to learn from others.
Chapter Two - I Am a Learner
[quote, Neve Campbell]
When I look back on it now, I am so glad that the one thing I had in my life was my belief that everything in life is a learning experience, whether it be positive or negative. If you can see it as a learning experience, you can turn any negative into a positive.
the exploration/mimicry learning process. This cycle uses only a limited part of the brain and the sensory and motor regions without intervening reflection and thinking. The child learns language in this way, mimicking and repeating the sounds of the mother’s voice. Through this process, we learn many complex skills from walking, talking, reading, and writing to even more sophisticated expert skills, such as medical diagnosis.
The First Step—Embracing a Learning Identity
a confidence and belief in your capacity to learn.
trusting one’s ability to learn from experience, seeking new experiences and challenges, persistence, learning from mistakes, and using others’ success as a source of learning.
The Second Step—Learning How to Learn
experience, reflect, think, and act.
attend to the experience of being with that person and hearing his or her name. Get a feeling for the person. If you miss the name, slow down the interaction and ask the person to repeat it. Don’t be embarrassed.
Next, reflect on your experience of the person and what his or her name means to you. Think by connecting your reflections to related concepts you may have.
Finally, act. Use the person’s name several times in your conversation and in later conversations with others.
Experiencing and thinking are different ways of knowing the world. Experiencing is direct and specific to the context we are in, while abstract thinking is generalized and applicable in all contexts.
Neither experiencing nor thinking can function alone—we must use both dimensions and all four steps of the cycle in order to learn effectively.
The second dimension of the learning cycle includes reflective observation and active experimentation, the two ways we transform and connect our experiences and thoughts.
When we reflect without acting, we have trouble accomplishing change and may become overwhelmed with possibilities, but when we act without reflecting on the consequences of our actions, our decisions become aimless and random.
concrete experiences are processed in the sensory cortex, reflective observation involves the temporal integrative cortex, the creation of new abstract concepts occurs in the frontal integrative cortex, and active testing involves the motor cortex. In other words, the learning cycle mirrors the structure of the brain.
The most important aspect of the learning cycle is that it describes the learning process as an ongoing spiral that leads us to new experiences.
This is quite different from the model of learning where information transferred from the teacher to the learner is meant to be memorized for later recall and testing.
In the linear model, the learner is a passive recipient of information, whereas in the cycle of learning, learners receive information through experiences, reflect on it, think about it abstractly to connect it with related information, and then use it to take action. Here, we are both receivers of information and creators of information.
Thus, the second step on the learning way, after embracing a learning identity, is to use the learning cycle as a guide to choose your life path and shape your destiny. We are shaped by our experiences, but through learning we have the transformative power to choose the experiences that are most fulfilling in order to shape our destiny.
As infants, we are born with the potential to be anything.
Using the Learning Cycle for a Life of Learning
We can approach every situation as a learning opportunity and benefit from using the learning cycle as a guide.
Learning Cycle Checklist for Action
Create a map of the learning cycle: experiencing, reflecting, thinking, and acting.
Images Monitor the way you move around the cycle, noticing which modes are more comfortable and which you avoid or underutilize.
Practice Using the Learning Cycle
Practice navigating the learning cycle.
Create a learning space.
First you need to make a quiet space for yourself to focus on the exercise without distraction. Get physically comfortable and relaxed. Be aware of all that your mind is preoccupied with and consciously set all of those thoughts aside for a few minutes. You can come back to them when you are done.
Focus on an immediate experience.
Let an experience emerge in the space you have made. For instance, you may notice a sensation or feeling in your body. Focus on it and tune in. Resist the temptation to put those feelings into words. Try to experience the sensations and feelings as vividly as possible. Take enough time for this so that distractions don’t interfere with what you are now feeling.
Move to reflection.
Sit back and review what you experienced in the last few moments. Become detached and think of yourself as an observer looking and listening to what you just went through. Don’t try to explain the experience at this point. The goal is just to take it in and replay it in your mind as vividly as possible.
Conceptualize the experience.
Now replay your reflections again and try to make sense of them. What is your interpretation of what you were feeling and experiencing? Try to create a concept, word, or idea that summarizes the various aspects of your experience.
Move to action.
What action can you take as a result? Actions can be big or small. You may want to tell someone about what you just went through and get his or her perspective. Your experience may have provided a new insight that makes you want to try a new approach, ask a question, or do something that will move you toward a goal.
The cycle begins again.
Your action will create new experiences and feelings. These may be a little more focused than in the first cycle. You may want to repeat the above steps again or put it aside for later.
Reflections on Using the Learning Cycle:
You may find it helpful to journal about your use of the learning cycle. Below, you will find prompts for your reflections.
Images Describe a recent situation in which you were successful and map the sequence of events (internal and external) on the learning cycle.
Images Think of a recent situation in which you were not as successful as you would have liked. Map the events on the learning cycle. Were any steps missing? How might you have benefited from using the learning cycle as your guide?
Describe a peak moment in your life. Describe how you moved through the learning cycle. Write about how the event unfolded in terms of what occurred during each part of the cycle.
Pick a theme that is important to you. Create a project or an art piece based on this theme. This can be a poem, sculpture, song, dance, drawing, game, or any kind of creative response. Use the learning cycle to guide you through the process of creation, making changes along the way and being aware that the process is more important than the end product. Reflect on the process and be aware of how the process required you to use the learning cycle. Notice the part of the process that were most comfortable.
Chapter Three My Learning Style, My Life Path
[quote, Martha Graham]
There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.
Together, the nine learning styles present a complete portrait of your total potential.
It also describes the way you approach life in general. Do you prefer to immediately rely on your feelings or stand back to think? Do you tend to watch and listen to others or immediately move to action? Since the cycle contains pairs of opposites—experiencing and thinking, reflecting and acting—few people find that they are automatically able to manage all these ways of learning with equal ease and flexibility. After all, how can you think and feel at the same time? How can you watch and act simultaneously?
The way you navigate the learning cycle—where you enter and where you prefer to dwell—determines your learning style.
Most people have a strong preference for one learning style and use backup styles in their repertoire. They also find that they avoid or underutilize certain styles.
Establishing trusting relastionships: 4/9
Being involved and engaged: 7/9
Connecting personally when communicating: 4/9
Being comfortable with emotional expression: 2/9
When using the experiencing style, you are engaged, connected, warm and intuitive. You excel in teamwork and establish trusting relationships with others. You are comfortable with emotional expression, and you manage your emotions well, even in stressful situations.
Generating new ideas: 6/9
Demonstrating empathy for others: 8/9
Seeking others' opinions: 5/9
Imagining new possibilities: 6/9
When you are using the imagining style, you are caring, trusting, empathetic, and creative. You demonstrate self-awareness and
empathy for others. You are comfortable in ambiguous situations, and you enjoy helping others, generating new ideas, and creating a vision for the future.
Listening with an open mind: 8/9
Gathering information from a variety of sources: 8/9
Identifying underlying problems and issues: 7/9
Viewing issues from many different perspectives: 7/9
When using the reflecting style, you are patient, careful and reserved, allowing others to take center stage.
You listen with an open mind and gather information from a variety of sources. You are able to view issues from many perspectives,
and identify underlying problems and issues.
Planning ahead to minimize mistakes: 6/9
Organizing information to get the full picture: 6/9
Analyzing data: 8/9
Using therories and models to explain issues: 6/9
When you are using the analyzing style, you are structured, methodical, and precise. You plan ahead to minimize mistakes, integrate
Using data to analyze solutions: 7/9
Framing arguments with logic: 7/9
Using critical thinking for objective communication: 6/9
Making independant judgements: 7/9
When using the thinking style, you are skeptical, structured, linear, and controlled. You use quantative tools to analyze problems and frame arguments with logic. You know how to communicate ideas effectively and make independent judgements.
Findig practical solutions to problems: 6/9
Commiting to a goal: 6/9
Making decisions and solving problems: 6/9
Taking a stand, even on controversial issues: 8/9
When using the deciding style, you are realistic, accountable, and direct. You find practical solutions to problems and et performance goals. You are able to commit to one focus.
Meeting time deadlines: 6/9
Finding ways to make things happen: 6/9
Taking goal-oriented actions to achieve results: 5/9
Implementing plans with limited resources: 6/9
Flexibly adapting to changing conditions: 5/9
Influencing and motivating others: 6/9
Recognizing new opportunities: 4/9
Bouncing back from failure: 6/9
Identifying the blind spot in a whole situation: 5/9
Bridging differences between people: 3/9
Adapting to shifting priorities: 5/9
Displaying resourcefulness: 4/9