Here are some highlights. Any errors are mine.
- Influences on his thinking: William James, Kurt Lewin, Carl Rogers, Carl Jung, John Dewey, Mary Follett, Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, and Paolo Freiere.
- Learning style is often misunderstood. It is not a matter of matching teacher’s style and learner’s style.
- Roles of the educator: facilitator, subject expert, standard setter, evaluator, coach.
- The spaces in which educators work are often not conducive to learning.
- Some people see the world as having smart people and dumb people, and if you see yourself as one of the dumb people, you cannot learn. Others see the world as “I can do this.” Educators should help all to know that they can learn.
These ideas apply also to leadership, management, and the workplace.
- The list of influences on his thinking is a great list. Mary Follett and Kurt Lewin were giants in leadership ideas and organizational change with much to say to us today.
- Training is usually best matched to the material, with learning by doing often best.
- The roles of the educator are also the roles of the leader and the manager. We facilitate activities and accomplishment of objectives. We provide guidance and expert opinions to others. We set the performance standards and give feedback as needed. And the best leaders and managers coach, helping develop their direct reports and growing their capabilities.
- Our workspaces are far more important than realized. We move to open spaces where individual offices might still be best. Do we position people who need to coordinate near those with whom they need to coordinate? I am reminded of Lockheed’s Skunk Works where engineers were located only feet from the people constructing airplanes.
- Do we provide opportunity and encouragement for all to learn, to develop knowledge and skills? Do we give back to our communities in such a way as to nourish those who need encouragement?
Kolb spoke to a room of educators but his ideas extend far into the world of work.
Image “Full Room” ©John Ballard, 2014.