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SBL Learning Theory

The SBL approach also supports David Kolb’s Experiential Learning model. Kolb asserts that learning is “the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience” and happens along two continuums – a perception continuum and a processing continuum. Effective learning occurs when the student shifts internal cognitive processes along these continuums. The perception continuum encourages the learner to transition between “thinking,” a process of abstract conceptualization and “feeling,” largely based on experiences. The process continuum encourages the learner to shift between “watching,” a process of observation and reflection and “doing,” an active stage of experimentation. Kolb also posits that students have a “learning preference” – converging, associating, diverging and assimilating – and this learning preference can be used to identify differences in the learning process by discipline. 

The SBL curriculum attempts to touch on each learning quadrant - converging, associating, diverging and assimilating. Research with students who have experienced the SBL curriculum shows good overall satisfaction with the curriculum and higher satisfaction among students with an associating or diverging learning style.