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Learning and Learning Cycle

Learning is defined as a relatively permanent change in behaviour (Akin 1987). In the


context of organisation, one of the managerial challenges is to instill productive work
behaviours in his employees.
Learning is also defined as the process of acquiring, assimilating, and
internalizing cognitive, motor, or behavioural inputs for their effective and varied
use when required, leading to an enhanced capability for further self-monitored
learning. This definition implies:
Learning begins with acquiring new inputs in the form of information, knowledge, behaviour
or motor activity. Learning however does not end here. This step is followed by assimilation.
Assimilation helps in retaining the acquired inputs in our memory for a longer period of time.
Internalisation of assimilated knowledge is another step in learning. In the context of
behaviour it is often found that people know how they should or should not behave in a
particular manner during a specific situation(such as an interview).
With internalisation learning is complete but is this learning effective? If what we have
learnt is not put to effective use in a real life situation then our learning is merely ornamental.
Learning if not effective, it begins to rust and decay and maybe lost in time to come.
Effective learning also fosters creativity and innovation.
The Learning Cycle (Kolbs Model)
According to this model, adult learning has four parts:
1. Experiencing: A learner is exposed to a learning experience by his own or a
facilitators efforts
2. Processing: After the experience the learner has time to process. He does so by
reflecting upon and analysing his experience
3. Generalizing: Processing helps him in abstract conceptualization and formation of a
tentative theory to explain his success or failures
4. Applying: Finally he applies this learning in an everyday scenario which results in
new experiences, and the cycle begins all over again.
Learner: Learners are central to any learning efforts. If the learner lacks
capability, skills, motivation or willingness then learning is beyond question.
Sometimes learners are averse to learning for various reasons. Learners
therefore should have the right amount of commitment, motivation, enthusiasm
and capabilities.
The divergers are the people who learn better by reflecting on specific
experience and drawing new inferences. They have high levels of imagination.
The assimilators learn better by combining reflective observations with
abstract concepts. They are good at creating theoretical models. The
convergers focus on specific problems and look for answers and solutions. The
accommodators believe in active experimentation.