David Kolb, an American education theorist proposed his four-stage experiential learning theory
in 1984. It is built on the premise that learning is the acquisition of abstract concepts which can
then be applied to a range of scenarios.
“Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of
Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development
(Vol. 1). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Each stage in the cycle both supports and leads into the next stage. Learning is achieved only if
all four stages have been completed, however, a learner may travel around the cycle multiple
times, further refining their understanding of the topic.
No one stage is an effective learning strategy on its own, for example, if the reflective
observation stage is skipped, the learner could continue to make the same mistakes.