Provide details and examples of David Kolb's theory of experiential learning.

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Jessica Pope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

David Kolb's theory of experiential learning posits that learning takes place through experience, rather than reflection or contemplation. In order to learn something, you have to have a sensory experience with the information or phenomenon you are studying. This theory of learning places high value on acting. Passive learning acts such as listening to lectures or reading books are, at best, corollaries to the basic learning act of trying, through action, to interact with the subject one is learning.

An example of experiential learning would be a language class focused almost exclusively on drills.  In such a class, the teacher would only speak the language students are learning and would force students to interact with that language as much as possible. Numerous software programs (such as the Rosetta Stone) have adopted this immersion-experiential model with great success.