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Research by Webb, Jones, Baker and Schaik (2004) has shown that more effective learning takes place if learners are actively involved, rather than passive listeners. This has brought a move towards more student-centered experiential learning. A leading figure in this field is Kolb (1984) who presented the cyclic model of experiential learning which has four elements. Active experimentation is the planning of a learning experience. Concrete experience is the participation in a learning episode. Reflective observation is the introspection of what has been learned and interlocutory discussion with the teacher and other learners. Abstract conceptualization is internalization of the learning as an integral entity of previous learning. Dialogue is central to the whole cycle and Kolb refers to it as the force that moves the learner through each of the stages. Learning occurs as an active process of constructing rather than acquiring knowledge (Santhiveeran, 2005). Ali (2003) shares that the “change from traditional, didactic teaching to student-centered learning demands an instructional delivery model that promotes interactive learning and critical thinking” ( p. 42).


  • Ali, A. (2003). Instructional design and online instruction: Practices and perception. TechTrends, 47(5), p. 42-45
  • Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J.
  • Santhiveeran, J. (2005 ). Building online communication into courses: Possibilities and cautions. Computers in the Schools, Haworth Press, 22(½), 43-55.
  • Webb, E., Jones, A., Barker, P., & van Schaik, P. (2004). Using e-learning dialogues in higher education. Innovations in Education & Teaching International, 41(1), 93-103.