Learning Cycles

Learning Cycles describe a path for a learning experience. For more background on experiential learning cycles, look here.

Example Learning Cycles

A learning cycle is a kind of experiential learning situation. The learning cycle is an example of the application of the PiagetModel of the learning Process.

A learning cycle consists of three steps:

  • Exploration
  • Invention
  • Application


In exploration, the instructor sets up some environment in which students can gather data, experiences, impressions.


In the group, the instructor facilitates all students in discovering the underling subject by collecting the information from exploration and generalizing.

The instructor does not give the answers but s/he might "name" the things the students come up with.

Invention often has two parts:

  • Capture data
  • Give it a name

Capture Data
When we capture the data, we might filter it a bit. We might use questions to elicit more data, we might generalize, etc.

Give it a name
After we have captured the data, we might give it a formal name, refer to an existing model or existing terminology.

Note that we did not give the student any answers, the underling ideas are theirs. All we've done is to give them a formal name.


Next, we give the students a similar problem they can apply their new information to as a means to validating their information.