Why learning is not a cycle: 1 ‐ discovering pattern

Eric Schlesinger (Eric Schlesinger is a Management Consultant based in Wembley Park, Middlesex, UK. He can be contacted on 0181 904 9186)

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Publication date: 1 April 1996


Proposes a new way of looking at learning that reflects the complexity and messiness of life. While inefficient learning habits are just that, the long‐standing cycle, circle, wheel or spiral of learning theory is too neat and organized. Criticizes the Honey and Mumford approach to learning styles for adopting an approach to experience that is behavioural at the expense of the meaningful aspects of experience. Theorizing and experiencing are one action, not two. People are practical theorists. They use the learning elements of Kolb, Honey and Mumford, etc., but in a varying sequence. The result is rich and complex patterns. Action learning’s theory of learning provides an example of this pattern. People often display this pattern in their knowing‐in‐action. The learning cycle is a convenient simplification that is best used for after‐the‐event reflection. Underlying these contrasting theories are two schools of thought ‐ traditional analytic and interpretive science. Proposes the need to use interpretive science to develop action as thinking.



Schlesinger, E. (1996), "Why learning is not a cycle: 1 ‐ discovering pattern", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 28 No. 2, pp. 30-35. https://doi.org/10.1108/00197859610109266

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Copyright © 1996, MCB UP Limited

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