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Experiential and critical pedagogies

Core readings provided in the module pack
Selected pages from Kolb (1984) and a chapter from Simon et al. (1991).

  • Experiential learning
    These briefly cover Kolb’s (1984) signature ideas on: the importance of prior learning; the integration of theory and practice; concrete experience; reflective observation; abstract conceptualisation; active experimentation; learning outside the classroom; learning as the process of creating knowledge; and the experiential learning cycle. The focus of the extracts is on Kolb’s theory of experiential learning and not learning styles.
  • Critical pedagogy
    The chapter includes 4 worked examples illustrating Simon et al.'s (1991) critical pedagogical approach to session design in relation to learning and work. The workshops covered include: self-assessment; pay; job-seeking and future work.

Integrating theory and practice
Kolb's ideas can be used to assess the coverage of learning outcomes. For example, are the phases of conceptualisation and experimentation included in the proposed training session? Simon et al.'s ideas can be used to take a critical pedagogical approach to training. To what extent, for example, does the training session enable participants to influence the conditions that affect their working lives or re-imagine workplace practices?
Optional extension activities
1/ Read Coffield, Moseley, Hall and Ecclestone (2004) for a critique of learning styles.
2/ Read Mezirow (2009) for a critical discussion on critical pegagogy.