Experiential Learning Theory is a dynamic view of learning based on a learning cycle driven by the resolution of the dual dialectics of action/reflection and experience/abstraction. Learning is defined as “the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience. Knowledge results from the combination of grasping and transforming experience.” . Grasping experience refers to the process of taking in information, and transforming experience is how individuals interpret and act on that information. The Experiential Learning Theory Model portrays two dialectically related modes of grasping experience:
Concrete Experience and Abstract Conceptualization
Two dialectically related modes of transforming experience (Reflective Observation and Active Experimentation)
Learning arises from the resolution of creative tension among these four learning modes. This process is portrayed as an idealized learning cycle where the learner “touches all the bases”—experiencing, reflecting, thinking, and acting—in a recursive process that is sensitive to the learning situation and what is being learned. Immediate or concrete experiences are the basis for observations and reflections. These reflections are assimilated and distilled into abstract concepts from which new implications for action can be drawn. These implications can be actively tested and serve as guides in creating new experiences.