Kolb meant by this that we cannot do both at the same time, and to an extent our urge to want to do both creates conflict, which we resolve through choice when confronted with a new learning situation.We internally decide whether we wish to do or watch, and at the same time we decide whether to think or feel. Despite this, (and this is my personal view, not the view of the 'anti-Learning Styles lobby'), many teachers and educators continue to find value and benefit by using Learning Styles theory in one way or another, and as often applies in such situations, there is likely to be usage which is appropriate, and other usage which is not.
Kolb says that ideally (and by inference not always) this process represents a learning cycle or spiral where the learner 'touches all the bases', ie., a cycle of experiencing, reflecting, thinking, and acting.
Immediate or concrete experiences lead to observations and reflections.
See further notes about Learning Styles detractors and considerations below.
Kolb's learning theory sets out four distinct learning styles (or preferences), which are based on a four-stage learning cycle.
Authorship/referencing Having developed the model over many years prior, David Kolb published his learning styles model in 1984.
Accordingly - especially if you are working with young people - use systems and methods with care.
Kolb includes this 'cycle of learning' as a central principle his experiential learning theory, typically expressed as four-stage cycle of learning, in which 'immediate or concrete experiences' provide a basis for 'observations and reflections'.
These 'observations and reflections' are assimilated and distilled into 'abstract concepts' producing new implications for action which can be 'actively tested' in turn creating new experiences.
In his publications - notably his 1984 book 'Experiential Learning: Experience As The Source Of Learning And Development' Kolb acknowledges the early work on experiential learning by others in the 1900's, including Rogers, Jung, and Piaget.
The model gave rise to related terms such as Kolb's experiential learning theory (ELT), and Kolb's learning styles inventory (LSI).
A note about Learning Styles in young people's education: Towards the end of the first decade of the 2000s a lobby seems to have grown among certain educationalists and educational researchers, which I summarise very briefly as follows: that in terms of substantial large-scale scientific research into young people's education, 'Learning Styles' theories, models, instruments, etc., remain largely unproven methodologies.