chapter  9
Experiential Learning Theory: Previous Research and New Directions
ByDavid A. Kolb, Richard E. Boyatzis, Charalampos Mainemelis
Pages 22

Experiential learning theory (ELT) provides a holistic model of the learning process and a multilinear model of adult development, both of which are consistent with what we know about how people learn, grow, and develop. The theory is called experiential learning to emphasize the central role that experience plays in the learning process, an emphasis that distinguishes ELT from other learning theories. The term experiential is used therefore to differentiate ELT both from cognitive learning theories, which emphasize cognition over affect, and behavioral learning theories, which deny any role for subjective experience in the learning process. Another reason the theory is called experiential is its intellectual origins in the experiential works of Dewey, Lewin, and Piaget. Taken together Dewey's philosophical pragmatism, Lewin's social psychology, and Piaget's cognitive-developmental genetic epistemology form a unique perspective on learning and development. Many of the studies in higher education use ELT and the LSI as a framework for educational innovation.