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The TrainingZone LearningWire – Special Issue 45


The TrainingZONE LearningWIRE - Special Issue 45
19 April 1999
The Learning Community
Copyright (C) 1999 Sift plc. All rights reserved.
This material is distributed free to trainers, learners, managers and
coaches. It may be reproduced in any medium for non-commercial purposes as
long as attribution is given.

>From the Editor
The Editor has been on holiday for the past few days, so new postings to
the TrainingZone site have been limited. To make up for it, here is a
Special Edition of the LearningWire devoted (mainly!) to the issue of
experiential learning - using the Internet as a resource. Also in this
issue, we update you on news from our current MicroSites (a range of
training-related websites hosted by TrainingZone), and the latest selection
of resources provided by members for inclusion in our downloadable Toolkit
of resources.

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Tim Pickles,
Editor, LearningWIRE and TrainingZONE
mailto:[email protected]


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SPECIAL ISSUE FEATURE : Experiential Learning ... on the Web

Many of us engaged in professional learning have a broad understanding of
the work of David Kolb. His highly influential book entitled Experiential
Learning: Experience as the source of learning and development was first
published in 1984 since when his ideas have had a dramatic impact on the
design and development of lifelong learning models. Of course, Kolb's work
can be traced back to that famous dictum of Confucius around 450 BC:

"Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and
I will understand."

This article aims to help you explore the development of experiential
learning from its original proposal into some of its current refinements
and applications today, using the World Wide Web (the Internet) as a vast
reference library. Many of the web address (called hyperlinks) provided in
the text look clumsy - but if you have a web browser installed, just click
on the hyperlink and your browser should open the specific page.

A useful place to start this online exploration is David Kolb's own
website. Here you need to be careful. There is another and different
David Kolb, a professor of philosophy at Bates College, who is a prolific
author. The man we seek is the professor of organisational behaviour at
Weatherhead School of Management. David A Kolb describes himself as a
"contemporary advocate of Experiential Learning". His own professional
webpage is at you can
find information about his background, current work and most well know
publications - including references to his most well-known subject -
experiential learning and learning styles.

The concept of experiential learning explores the cyclical pattern of all
learning from Experience through Reflection and Conceptualising to Action
and on to further Experience. One of the sites which explores the model
and its practical application can be found at This is a very
well-known model which now forms the heart of many training and learning
events. It also describes the process for recording continuous
professional development, through taking time to capture, record and
implement learning in our daily work. There are many adaptations and uses
of the model. A fascinating one is provided on the Natural Learning
website where analogy between this model of learning and organic growth in
the plant and gardening worlds is well made:

David Kolb has extended his original work to explore the different ways in
which we all learn. He defined four styles, based loosely around the four
stages of his cycle: Activists, Reflectors, Theorists and Pragmatists.
Perhaps the best exposition of these learning styles, together with a range
of fascinating illustrations is to be found at the University of New South
Wales, and I would strongly recommend this page: The
work on learning styles has been used and developed by many groups and
institutions. A Polytechnic in Hong Kong adapted the work to provide a
Learning to Learn guide for its students:
Meanwhile, staff members at Mason College have done a very creditable job
of creating a directory of all the main learning style instruments
including a summary of their main benefits and features:

In Britain, the most accessible resource is the best-selling Manual of
Learning Styles created by Peter Honey and Alan Mumford which includes a
self-assessment instrument and advice on how to diversify your learning.
The Manual is available online at If you want
to track down the original publications by David Kolb, or to find other
books on experiential education, have a look through

Kolb's work has influenced the work of many in the learning, development
and education fields. The National Society for Experiential Education is a
membership association and networking resource promoting experience-based
approaches to teaching and learning Their site has
an extensive library of further resources. The Association for
Experiential Education aims to "contribute to making a more just and
compassionate world by transforming education" The
South African-based International Consortium for Experiential Education
organises its networking activities within four 'villages', two of which
are concerned with community action and social change, and with personal
growth, self awareness and group effectiveness

A further development of these ideas has led to the notion of groups and
companies transforming themselves into Learning Organisations. An
impressive and highly active network of people are busy exploring all
aspects of this field through the email discussion groups to be found at TrainingZone has itself, in collaboration with
the European Consortium for the Learning Organisation, recently initiated
an open conference about learning organisation matters at

We can explore and develop our own learning in an experiential way. The
Internet offers a virtually limitless resource for extending our own
knowledge as this article seeks to demonstrate. To explore some of these
ideas further, look up any of the links from this article, and register
for further updates with TrainingZone.

New Toolkit resources for download
The following resources have recently been contributed by members and added
to the Toolkit area for your use. Our thanks to the members involved. If
you would like to make some of your learning and development resources
available in this way, please check out

Performance Appraisals - one neuron short of a synapse?
Short article by David Royden on the uses - and abuses - of performance
appraisal within organisations.

A testing time for online media
A new family of software is threatening to deliver the power of the web
straight into the hands of the trainer. An article by Martin Belton of
Question Mark Computing Ltd.

Recovering training fees
In this article, David Royden, a solicitor specialising in employment law
with Cheshire based law firm Robinson King, examines the way in which
employers can recover training costs from employees who leave employment
for another employer soon after the training has been completed.

Update on TrainingZone MicroSites
The TrainingZone website plays host to several organisations wishing to
take advantage of this large existing audience whilst relieving themselves
of the time and trouble in creating and managing their own website. Our
MicroSites come fully serviced, and enable you to have complete control
over the posting of new material at any time from your own computer. New
material is always made live on the site within 15 minutes so its an
excellent way of keeping your audience fully informed. For more
information about creating a MicroSite, see

Institute of Continuing Professional Development
After the huge success of the inaugural dinner in March, the next event is
a seminar arranged for 27 April on the subject of 'New Horizons - The
Challenge o 2020' at which Oliver Sparrow, Director of the Chatham House
Forum will explore business issues in the new millennium.
LearningWire currently reaches 1,350 organisations every week.
Put your message before this focused audience of people engaged
in training, learning and development.

Parenthood Education Network
'Two Steps Ahead' is the title of a pamphlet by the Parenting Forum
published earlier this year. This four page leaflet distills the major
arguments for effective parenthood education in our schools. It was
prepared by the Parenting Forum's parenthood education working group for
presentation to the DfEE in October. Author Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer
provides the working group with a cogent and interesting read that cannot
fail to persuade everyone from headteachers to government ministers that
this subject has to be part of the school curriculum post 2000.

'Bringing up Boys: A parents' guide' is published by Piccadilly Press at
6.99. Tim Kahn, the author of this easy-to-read straightforward guide,
brings a sensitivity to his subject that shines through its pages. It deals
with most of the issues that many those parents with boys have begun to
think about as they grow up. The strength of the book comes in its ability
to give parents a real helping hand in approaching many difficult

Framework consultancy network
Framework is an established consultancy, training and authoring network
operating throughout the UK with an extensive range of clients in the
public, charitable and not-for-profit sectors. Member consultants live and
work in different locations, but each shares a strong commitment to ethical
practice, social justice and challenging discrimination. This new
MicroSite is still in its infancy but you can already find out background
details about Framework here.

Other virtual community websites
If you like the service you get from TrainingZone, please tell your friends
and colleagues of other virtual communities which we run:

For accountants -
For the travel industry -
For the SME sector -

Company information on TrainingZone
Don't forget that TrainingZone has a comprehensive directory of every UK
registered company. You can find out details of actual and potential
clients, check out their directors and find out about their business and
turnover BEFORE pitching for business.

About Sift
Sift plc is a leading developer of online communities. Based in Bristol,
Sift has also developed AccountingWEB for the accounting sector,
BusinessZONE (for the SME market), and TravelMole for the travel industry.
At the 1997 Online Information Exhibition at Olympia,
AccountingWEB was voted European Information Product of the
Year (and also runner up as Internet Product of 1997).

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Editor: Tim Pickles mailto:[email protected]
Sift plc., The Mill House, Redcliff Backs, Bristol BS1 6LY
Tel:+44 (0)117 915 9600 Fax:+44 (0)117 915 9630


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