sport in nfe

Experiential learning through sport

In 1984, a book called Experiential learning: experience as the source of learning and development was published by the author David Kolb. As its name suggests, it is a concept of learning by experience, or in other words, learning by doing. Some of the most popular activities in which this method comes into practice today, are internships, school trips for conservation, outdoor education etc. Also, it is widely used in the activities of non-formal education.

The cycle of experiential learning is consisted out of four steps. First step is the experience which can be foreseen as a planned event, activity or stimulus. It is followed by phase 2 – debriefing and phase 3 – evaluation. Debriefing is a part of the process which is often disregarded, but actually is crucial activity for a successful learning process. The participants reflect together which allow them to expand their views. Evaluation should serve as a method of connection with real-life experiences. At the final stage, participants move to applying (phase 4) or using acquired knowledge.

Kolb’s learning cycle shows the complete action where individual is able to implement new knowledge in order to change existing behavior or habits. In other words, the participants of the action will be able to use new competences.

Based on the mentioned four steps, Kolb has created four overall learning dimensions. Learning styles are described as traits that refer to how individuals approach learning tasks and process information. A learning style differ from person to person. Many different factors are noticed to influence learning style preference, such as: age, level of education, place of living, income, culture, personality type etc. One of the main benefits of using this approach is the simplicity of determining one’s personal learning style through a questionnaire which records the learning preference along two continua. The Perception Continuum describes how people think, with Concrete Experience (Feeling) and Abstract Conceptualization (Thinking) as opposites; whilst the Processing Continuum describes how people do things, with Active Experimentation (Doing) and Reflective Observation (Watching) as opposites. The process concludes by plotting the measures obtained on a following graph and individuals are identified as having the preferred learning style from the quadrant in which the measures fall.