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Using Kolb’s Model to Set Goals

In 1984 a man by the name of David Kolb created a model based on the different ways that people learn.  These learning styles have come to be known as “Kolb’s model” and are used today to determine the different ways in which certain personalities learn and absorb information.  When you’re setting goals for yourself it can sometimes help to understand a bit more about the ways in which you, as an individual, learn.

Kolb believed that we learn by using four different styles of learning:

• Learning by doing, or by experimenting with something.
• Learning by watching and being conscious of the observing of something.
• Learning by feeling, or by actively experiencing something, and
• Learning by thinking and conceptualizing something.

These four styles of learning can be broken down even further by defining the type of “learner” a person is:

• The activist.  This type of learner uses intuition and perception instead of reasoning to learn new things. 
• The reflector.  The reflector learns by watching and looking at the world from an entirely different perspective than other learners.  These learners are highly imaginative and use this imagination to observe their own experiences.
• The theorist.  This type of learner analyzes things logically and methodically.  They look for a precise explanation of things as they are presented to them.
• The pragmatist.  The pragmatist is a learner that uses the information they absorb in a practical way to further their knowledge.  These types of learners are quick to get things done and are willing to take risks that other learners aren’t willing to take.

When you know what category of learning that you best fit into you’ll be able to determine what works best for you to achieve your goals.  You’ll have a better understanding of how you absorb information and what you can do with this processed information as it applies to goals.

Keep in mind that Kolb’s model is just a sequence of learning theories and that many people will fall into more than one category when it comes to the way that they learn new things.  As you start to set more goals for yourself you need to have a plan of how you are going to achieve these goals.  Having goals is necessary but having the tools and the knowledge to reach these goals is just as important.  After all, if you don’t know what works best for you when it comes how you learn and grow how will you know what perceptions to follow and make a reality?

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