Monday, July 4, 2011

Adult learning theory - activity 7


This diagram by Honey and Mumford (Image source : is an extension of the original experiential learning cycle diagram developed by Kolb (1984). I believe that experiential learning is inherent in the creative process of learning art and design. Kolbs experiential learning cycle by nature fits in with the teaching and learning of art and design. The art/design course I teach is practical and project based, learning happen through experimentation and actually making stuff. We expect to make mistakes, we expect to do lots of tests and trials, to reflect on these and move forward and make something else. Concepts, theory, reason etc (Abstract Conceptualization) is often difficult to grasp if the experience associated with it is separated. Both the Concrete Experience and Active Experimentation lead to reflection which in turn lead to a deeper understanding of concepts and theories.

It is difficult to separate out the different individual concepts that are to be learned in this context too. When a student makes a piece of work we can look at it from many different angles to talk about a certain concept. Many different aspects, concepts, theories can be taught by making one piece of work or during one project, in the Art/design context everything is interlinked and overlapping, and usually nothing exists without the other.

Example - Teaching Composition

Composition doesn't exist in isolation there are many things that inform a composition, in fact it is the coming together of other components that make up a composition like Color (color theory), white balance, use of space, form, texture, line. When teaching composition it is important to also talk about these other things which in themselves are or could be rather huge things.

Usually I give a lecture about composition, then do a demonstration (Concrete Experience). Slides and notes are posted on moodle. The students then go and make their own work 'Active Experimentation' s. My course is project based and the students all choose their own subject matter, I teach a great deal one on one and guide them as they develop their images to develop sound composition, and become aware of all of the components that inform a composition. Thus using inquisitive questioning to help facilitate Reflective Observation. And hopefully naturally through experience, experimentation and reflection will incur deep learning of the visual theories that underly successful image making.


Bronwyn hegarty said...

Hannah this is a clear explanation of the way in which you use Kolb's experiential learning cycle in your teaching.

When you use "inquisitive questioning to help facilitate Reflective Observation" do you do this with the group after demonstrating a technique - as well as during the one on one sessions?

You may be interested in
Phil Race's - Seven Ripples model (a powerpoint)- he thinks Kolb is too simplistic. I think his model probably more accurately captures what you are doing - see what you think. Seven ripple...
1. Strive to enhance our students’ want to learn;
2. Help students to develop ownership of the need to learn;
3. Keep students learn by doing, practice, trial-and-error, repetition;
4. Ensure students get quick and useful feedback – from us and from each other;
5. Help students to make sense of what they learn.
6.Get students deepening their learning by coaching other students, explaining things to them.
7. Allow students to further deepen their learning by assessing their own learning, and assessing others’ learning – making informed judgements.

Do these seven items fit with your teaching?

Hannahj said...

Yes Thanks Bronwyn that really fits with my teaching philosophies