Traditional Indian Education and Kolb’s Experiential model

Experiential learning is the buzz word today. Kolb’s model is one of the best suited for thhis aproach. I have made an effort to match this with our traditional thinking. Check out and see how they match. Join me and let’s feel proud of our cultural heritage.

Pramanas  and Kolb’s learning cycle

Kolb’s theory defines experiential learning as a four-stage process:

  1. Concrete learning occurs when a learner has a new experience or interprets a previous experience in a new way. For example, a student has to learn a new technique of experimentation as a part of the Project based learning.
  2. Reflective observation– the learner reflects on the new experience to understand what it means. In our example, the student might think about how they could have done the process better – which were the drawbacks/ limitations and merits.
  3. Abstract conceptualisation– the learner adapts their thinking or constructs new ideas based on experience and reflection. For example, the  student realises they need to have all their materials ready before starting the process.
  4. Active experimentation– the learner applies their new ideas to real-world situations to test whether they work and see if any changes need to be made. This process can happen quickly or over an extended time. Our student might note how smoothly things go consistently when they have everything ready for an experiment in advance.

I have tried to match the Pramanas to Kolbs Learning cycle herein.

  1. Pratyaksha – direct perception, sensorial experiences which can be similar to the – Concrete experience
  2. Anumana – Inferences drawn out of observation can be akin to – Reflective observation
  3. Upamana – knowing through analogy and comparison is comparable with Active experimentation
  4. Arthapatti – knowing through circumstantial implication can be related to Abstract conceptualisation
  5. Anupalabdi – Perception of non-existence is also considered a valid form of knowledge. – The Dogs did not bark at night is an example given in the book. We infer the reason for the dog’s silence. This does not find a parallel in Kolb’s cycle
  6. Sabda – the testimony of an expert is sometimes considered as true Knowledge – voice of the guru. The teacher or the Guru is the facilitator of the knowledge. Although there is no mention of this stage in Kolb’s learning cycle, it is assumed that the teacher has to play a role of facilitator and therefore, there is a match.

What are the educational implications of this?

The theory invites educators and learners alike to understand different learning styles, making it a useful guide for designing effective training interventions.

Published by Dr. Pramila Kudva

I am a teacher educator currently worrking as a Principal of a reputed school in North Mumbai, have more than 30 years of experience, with several publications to my credit and have authored a book -"From chalk to Talk The Art of Teaching.

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