Friday, 4 October 2013

Learning Moments

Should learning be fun? I suspect not, because learning can sometimes be uncomfortable as it transforms us. Effective - sticky - learning is not something that allows us to remain the same.

But perhaps sticky learning can be an 'enjoyable' process.

Knowles (1977, p. 202) tells us that the early gurus – Socrates, Euclid, Confucius, the Hebrew prophets and Lao-Tze – were all teachers of adults.

Entry for learning was usually 18+, so these great teacher's educational approaches were andragogical (adult), not pedagogical (child). Knowles also points out that, because delivery was an active, learner-centred process of enquiry, our early educators were case teachers. The Socratic method of “engaging the learner in a process of dialogue, an active process of enquiry” is how case learning takes place today.

In 1984 Kolb developed an experiential learning model which helps us link education, work, and our own personal development. Kolb reckoned that all learners move through four learning stages: firstly we experience, then we reflect, then we think about how this fits with our world (we abstract), then at last we test it (action) for fit. We tinker around with things through those four stages, around and around until we master something.

If something just doesn't make our cut in fitting our four stage learning process, we dump it. Some of us have more tenacity and determination in seeking mastery, so we will persevere longer. Others will be quick to dump or will lack tenacity.

But we have to go through all four of those stages. If we try to skip any bits, we don't get sticky learning. And we have to do it for ourselves.


  • Kolb, David A (1984). Experiential Learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. USA: Prentice Hall, Inc
  • Knowles, Malcolm S. (1977). Adult Learning Processes: Pedagogy and Andragogy. Religious Education, 1977, Volume 72, issue 2 (pp. 202-211)


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