Kolb’s experiential learning as a critical frame for reflective practice
Academic Leadership - Online Journal,
Vol. 8 No. 3 (2007): Vol-8-Issue-3-March-2007
David Kolb’s conception of experiential learning has informed wide-ranging studies and practices in
education, business, organizational development, and leadership studies for over two decades now.
His work has guided the work of trainers, teachers, and scholars, affording significant insights into both
individual and organizational learning. Because deep and sustained change in human settings requires
that people learn, Kolb’s penetrating analysis of the complexities involved in human learning has
provided clues about the notorious difficulties surrounding change in both individuals and
organizations. In an era where the newest ideas tend to have special cache, Kolb’s work has had
remarkable staying power. Perhaps this is because his ideas have repeatedly served as a foundation
for theorists and practitioners to understand and influence institutions and the people in them
(Sandmire, Vroman & Sanders, 2000; Loo, 2002; Pauleen, Marshall & Ergort, 2004). In a rapidlychanging
world, contemporary institutions and organizations must foster human learning. Indeed, they
must be led by effective learners if they are to be relevant and enduring.