Your PDF has successfully downloaded.

You may be interested in finding more content on these topics:


You are not currently logged in.

Access JSTOR through your library or other institution:


Log in through your institution.

Journal Article

Learning Styles and Learning Spaces: Enhancing Experiential Learning in Higher Education

Alice Y. Kolb and David A. Kolb
Academy of Management Learning & Education
Vol. 4, No. 2 (Jun., 2005), pp. 193-212
Published by: Academy of Management
Stable URL:
Page Count: 20
Were these topics helpful?
See somethings inaccurate? Let us know!

Select the topics that are inaccurate.

  • Download PDF
  • Add to My Lists
  • Cite this Item
We're having trouble loading this content. Download PDF instead.


Drawing on the foundational theories of John Dewey and Kurt Lewin, we examine recent developments in theory and research on experiential learning and explore how this work can enhance experiential learning in higher education. We introduce the concept of learning space as a framework for understanding the interface between student learning styles and the institutional learning environment. We illustrate the use of the learning space framework in three case studies of longitudinal institutional development. Finally, we present principles for the enhancement of experiential learning in higher education and suggest how experiential learning can be applied throughout the educational environment by institutional development programs, including longitudinal outcome assessment curriculum development, student development and faculty development.

Notes and References

This item contains 76 references.

  • Abbey, D. S., Hunt, D. E., & Weiser, J. C. 1985. Variations on a theme by Kolb: A new perspective for understanding coun- seling and supervision. The Counseling Psychologist 13(3): 477-501.
  • American Psychological Association Board of Affairs. 1997. Learner-centered psychological principles: A framework for school redesign and reform. Retrieved from http://www.
  • Baker, A., Jensen, P., & Kolb, D. A. 2002. Conversational learning: An experiential approach to knowledge creation. Westport, Connecticut: Quorum Books.
  • Baxter-Magolda, M. B. 1999. Creating contexts for learning and self-authorship. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press.
  • Boyatzis, R. E. 1994. Stimulating self-directed change: A required MBA course called Managerial Assessment and Develop- ment. Journal of Management Educations 18(3): 304-323.
  • Boyatzis, R. E., Cowen, S. S., & Kolb, D. A. 1995. Innovation in professional education: Steps on a journey from teaching to learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Boyatzis, R. E., & Kolb, D. A. 1991. Learning Skills Profile. TRG Hay/McBer, Training Resources Group. 116 Huntington Av- enue, Boston, MA 02116. Retrieved from trg_mcber@
  • Boyatzis, R. E., & Kolb, D. A. 1993. Adaptive Style Inventory: Self scored inventory and interpretation booklet. TRG Hay/ McBer, Training Resources Group. 116 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116. Retrieved from trg_mcber@
  • Boyatzis, R. E., & Kolb, D. A. 1995. From learning styles to learn- ing skills: The Executive Skills Profile. Journal of Manage- rial Psychology. 10(5): 3-17.
  • Boyatzis, R. E., & Kolb, D. A. 1997. Assessing individuality in learning: The Learning Skills Profile. Educational Psychol- ogy. 11(3-4): 279-295.
  • Boyatzis, R. E., & Mainemelis, C. 2000. An empirical study of the pluralism of learning and adaptive styles in an MBA pro- gram. Paper presented at the 60th annual meeting of the Academy of Management, Toronto.
  • Boyatzis, R. E., Stubbs, E. C., & Taylor, S. N. 2002. Learning cognitive and emotional intelligence competencies through graduate management education. Academy of Manage- ment Learning and Education. 1(2): 150-162.
  • Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. 2000. How peopie learn: Brain, mind experience, and school. Washington DC: National Academy Press.
  • Bronfrenbrenner, U. 1977. Toward an experimental ecology of human development. American Psychologist. (July): 513-530.
  • Bronfrenbrenner, U. 1979. The ecology of human development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Bunker, S. S. 1999. Constructing curriculum: Creating a teaching- learning space. Nursing Science Quarterly. 12(4): 297-298.
  • Campus News. 2003. Edward M. Hundert Inaugural, (February 6): 1-2.
  • Cartwright, D. (Ed.). 1951. Field theory in social science: Selected theoretical papers by Kurt Lewin. New York: Harper Torch- books.
  • Damasio, A. 1994. Descartes error: Emotion, reason and the hu- man brain. New York: Grosset/Putnam.
  • Damasio, A. 2003. Looting for Spinoza: Joy. sorrow and the feeling brain. New York: Harcourt, Inc.
  • Deci, E., & Ryan, R. 1985. Intrinsic motivation and self-determi- nation in human behavior. New York: Plenum.
  • Dewey, J. 1897. My pedagogic creed. The school journal. LIV(3): 77-80.
  • Dewey, J. 1916. Democracy and education. New York: Macmillan.
  • Dewey, J. 1934. Art as experience. New York: Perigee Books.
  • Dewey, J. 1938. Education and experience. New York: Simon and Schuster.
  • Eickmann, P., Kolb, A., & Kolb, D. A. 2003. Designing learning. In R. Boland & F. Callopy, (Eds.), Managing as designing: Creating a new vocabulary for management education and research. Stanford University Press.
  • Gould, S. J. 2003. The hedgehog, the fox. and the magister's pox. New York: Harmony Books.
  • Garner, I. 2000. Problems and inconsistencies with Kolb's learn- ing styles. Educational Psychology. 20: 341-349.
  • Hickcox, L. K. 1991. An historical review of Kolb's formulation of experiential learning theory. Unpublished doctoral disser- tation, University of Oregon, Corvallis.
  • Holman, D., Pavlica, K., & Thorpe, R. 1997. Rethinking Kolb's theory of experiential learning in management education: The contribution of social constructionism and activity the- ory. Management Learning. 28(2): 135-148.
  • Hopkins, R. 1993. David Kolb's experiential learning-machine. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology. 24(1): 46-62.
  • Hunt, D. E. 1987. Beginning with ourselves in practice, theory and human affairs. Cambridge MA: Brookline Books.
  • Hunt, D. E. 1991. The renewal of personal energy. Toronto, Can- ada: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.
  • Iliff, C. H. 1994. Kolb's Learning Style Inventory: A meta-analy- sis. Unpublished Doctoral dissertation, Boston University, Boston, MA.
  • Kayes, D. C. 2002. Experiential learning and its critics: Preserv- ing the role of experience in management education. Acad- emy of Management Learning and Education. 1(2): 137-149.
  • Keeton, M. T., Sheckley, B. G., & Griggs, J. K. 2002. Efficiency and effectiveness in higher education. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/ Hunt Publishing Company.
  • Kegan, R. 1994. In over our heads: The mental demands of modern life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • King, P. M. 2003. Student learning in higher education. In S. R. Komives, D. B. Woodward, Jr., and Associates (Eds.), Student services: A handbook for the profession: 234-268. San Fran- cisco: Jossey Bass.
  • Kohn, A. 1993. Punished by rewards. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  • Kolb, D. A. 1971. Individual learning styles and the learning process. Working Paper #535-71, Sloan School of Manage- ment, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Kolb, D. A. 1981. Experiential Learning Theory and the Learning Style Inventory: A reply to Freedman and Stumpf . Academy of Management Review. 6(2): 289-296.
  • Kolb, D. A. 1984. Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.
  • Kolb, D. A. 1985. Learning Style Inventory. TRG hay/McBer, Training Resoruces Group. 116 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116. Retrieved from trg_mcber@
  • Kolb, D. A. 1999a. Learning Style Inventory. Version 3. TRG Hay/McBer, Training Resources Group. 116 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116 Retrieved from trg_mcber@
  • Kolb, D. A. 1999b. Learning Style Inventory-Version 3: Technical specifications. TRG Hay/McBer, Training Resources Group. 116 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116. Retrieved from
  • Kolb, D. A., Boyatzis, R., & Mainemelis, C. 2001. Experiential learning theory: Previous research and new directions. In R. Sternberg & L. Zhang (Eds.), Perspectives on cognitive learn- ing, and thinking styles: 228-247. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Kolb, A., & Kolb, D. A. 2005. Experiential Learning Theory bibliog- raphy. Experience Based Learning Systems, Inc. Cleveland, OH. Retrieved from
  • Kolb, A., & Lingham, T. 2002. Ohio Consortium on Artistic Learning: A baseline study of the learning styles of visual artists. Pre- liminary report, Experience Based Learning Systems, Inc.
  • Kolb, A., Murphy, V., Puerto, M., Yamazaki, Y., Godwin, L., & Simy, J. 2003. Seminar approach to general education and scholarship (SAGES). An assessment of the first year. Cleve- land, OH: Case Western Reserve University.
  • Kolb, D. A., Rubin, I. M., & Mclntyre, J. 1971. Organizational psychology: An experiential approach. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  • Kolb, D. A., & Wolfe, D. 1981. Professional education and career development: A cross-sectional study of adaptive competen- cies in experiential learning. Final report NIE G-77-0053, ERIC no. ED 209 493 CE 030 519.
  • Lave, J., & Wenger, E. 1991. Situated learning: Legitimate pe- ripheral participation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univer- sity Press.
  • LeDoux, J. 1997. The emotional brain. New York: Putnam.
  • Light, R. J. 2001. Making the most of college: Students speak their minds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Mainemelis, C., Boyatzis, R., & Kolb, D. A. 2002. Learning styles and adaptive flexibility: Testing experiential learning the- ory. Management Learning, 33(1): 5-33.
  • Malinen, A. 2000. Towards the essence of adult experiential learn- ing: A reading of the theories of Knowles, Kolb. Mezirow, Revans and Schön. SoPhi, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland.
  • Marrow, A. J. (1977). The practical theorist: The life and work of Kurt Lewin. New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Mentkowski, M., & Associates. 2000. Learning that lasts: Inte- grating learning, development and performance in college and beyond. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.
  • Mentkowski, M., & Strait, M. 1983. A longitudinal study of stu- dent change in cognitive development, learning styles, and generic abilities in an outcome centered liberal arts curric- ulum. Final Report to the National Institutes of Education from Alverno College.
  • Nonaka, I., & Konno, N. 1998. The concept of "ba": Building a foundation for knowledge creation. California Manage- ment Review. 40(3): 40-54.
  • Nouwen, H. 1975. Reaching out. New York: Doubleday.
  • Palmer, P. 1983. To know as we are known: Education as a spiritual journey. San Francisco: Harper and Row.
  • Palmer, P. 1990. The active life: A spirituality of work, creativity and caring. San Francisco: Harper and Row.
  • Palmer, P. 1998. The courage to teach: Exploring the inner land- scape of a teacher's life. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • President's Commission on Undergraduate Education and Life. 2001. Education through experience: A report to the presi- dent of Case Western Reserve University from President's Commission on Undergraduate Education and Life. Cleve- land, OH: Case Western Reserve University.
  • Reese, J. 1998. Enhancing law student performance: Learning styles interventions. Unpublished report. Empire State Col- lege. Saratoga Springs, NY: National Center on Adult Learning.
  • Robertson, D. L. 1988. Self-directed growth. Muncie, IN: Acceler- ated Development, Inc.
  • Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. 2000. Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist 55(1): 68-78.
  • Sanford, N. 1966. Self and society: Social change and individual development. New York: Atherton Press.
  • Summers, L. H. 2003. On undergraduate education. Harvard Magazine, July-August: 63-65.
  • Vince, R. 1998. Behind and beyond Kolb's learning cycle. Journal of Management Education. 22(3): 304-319.
  • Vygotsky, L. S. 1978. Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. M. Cole, V. John-Steiner, S. Scrib- ner, & E. Souberman, (Eds.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Uni- versity Press.
  • Wyss-Flamm, E. D. 2002. Conversational learning and psycholog- ical safety in multicultural teams. Unpublished PhD disserta- tion. Case Western Reserve University. Cleveland, OH.
  • Yamazaki, Y. 2002. Learning styles and typologies of cultural differences: A theoretical and empirical comparison. Work- ing paper 02-1. Department of Organizational Behavior, Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Re- serve University, Cleveland, OH.
  • Yamazaki, Y. 2003. An experiential approach to cross-cultural adaptation: A study of Japanese expatriates' learning styles, learning skills, and job satisfaction in the United States. Unpublished PhD Dissertation. Case Western Re- serve University, Cleveland, OH.
  • Zull, J. E. 2002. The art of changing the brain: Enriching teaching by exploring the biology of learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus.