Four Ways that People Learn

adult learning cycle by David Kolb

One of the consistently popular “key learnings” in my seminars has been the four ways that people learn, also known as the Kolb Learning Cycle.

  • People learn from experience
  • People learn from reflection
  • People learn from conceptualizing
  • People learn from experimentation

Being a Change Agent: Bridging Tangible Experience With Conceptualizing

I challenge leaders to become agents of change. They can use the learning cycle by focusing on the elements of reflection and experimenting.  Consider a script such as this for encouraging reflection:

Let’s stop and take a deep breath. How are things going with this strategic initiative? Are people satisfied or frustrated with our progress?

You can encourage an experimental mindset which is valuable for learning:

Let’s give this a try. If it doesn’t work out we’ll learn something from it.

Culture is Shared Learning

I often hear people expressing the challenges of dealing with culture.  My defintion of culture is a shared learning of a group of people.

  • You’re trying to get them to learn new things
  • You’re trying to get them to un-learn existing practices

Suggestion: read my prior article Five Things a Strategic Initiative Leader Needs to Know about Innovation for more on this concept of culture and learning.

How do you encourage learning in your strategic initiative teams?


About Greg Githens

Thought leader who helps others think strategically, make strategy, and turn vision into action. Coach, advisor, board member, and hands-on leader. Seminar leader and speaker of popular offerings "How to Think Strategically & Apply Business Acumen" and "Leading Strategic Initiatives (Program Management)." Experience in driving change in Fortune 500 and mid-size companies through strategic initiatives and business transformation.
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