Experiential Learning Cycle (Kolb)

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Contents

Introduction

Contemporary efforts involving immersive virtual worlds and simulated virtual spaces tap into D.A. Kolb's experiential learning cycle (1994), which is a foundational theory from which there are a range of spin-off models of experiential learning.

KolbExperientialLearningCycle1994.jpg

This concept suggests that people learn first by experiencing a concrete experience, reflecting on that experience, abstracting concepts and generalizations about those experiences, and then testing their hypotheses again in the real world.

This approach emphasizes the importance of trial-and-error, which is a much more forgiving way to learn in simulated spaces. (People can always push "replay.")


Implications for Virtual World Experiences and Simulations

The building of virtual world experiences and simulations is based on "selective fidelity," or specific choices of experiences that make the learning salient.

Most simulations are started up with preparations, live-sim facilitation, and debriefings after the simulation experiences to highlight the learning. Otherwise, the learning is too inductive and free-form, and this openness may lead to negative learning or misconstruals.

There is some debate on whether the experiential learning can be disembodied (such as those via human-embodied avatars), or whether proprioception (in-body / embodied learning) is required.

See Also

References