Kolb's Theory Of Experiential Learning Analysis

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Theory is Everywhere: Kolb’s Theory of Experiential Learning
“College is hard, but dental school will break you”, is the first statement I heard from a 4th year student when I first started working with students as the graduate assistant for the Office of Student Affairs, within the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. I was shocked and confused by this statement because standing before me was a student who had graduated with a 3.95 grade point average in their undergraduate study and was in the top of their class in dental school. I asked them to clarify and they responded by explaining that the first two years are all bookwork with a few practical skills and the last two years are all practical work with little bookwork. They told me
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The first and second year curriculum is rooted in reflective observation due to the heavy course and bookwork the students are assigned. They also are moving through to the abstract conceptualization stage during the first and second year because they are observing in clinics and working on molds. The curriculum model allows them to draw on what they have read and begin to formulate their own best practices, while abiding to guidelines. The third year focuses on active experimentation as students are in clinics for most of their course work. The clinics allows for students to be hands on with their skills and use what they learned from the prior two years of the program. They are supervised by practicing dentist and are observed and critiqued for their hand skills and professional demeanor. They are able to incorporate what they have learned from the faculty to practice in the field. The cycle comes full circle during the fourth year of the program when students move into the concrete experience and are able to practice and hone in on their own practice. They are able to take what they have learned from the previous three stages and grow and adapt to the forever-changing field of …show more content…
Is it beneficial to “force” these students to go through the four-stage cycle? As Kolb noted some of the abilities are opposites and therefore the student must choose (CE or AC) and (AE or RO) in certain learning situations (Evans et al., 2010). Coker and Porter (2015) argue that while one experience may be beneficial to one student or a group of students, it may not be beneficial to all. I argue that the data from the College of Dentistry supports that this curriculum is indeed successful and one of the best in the United States. According to the college it is one of only two dental schools in the nation to offer advanced education in all ADA recognized dental specialties and this is because of the last two years being so focused on the clinical experience (“Did you Know”, 2015). Also, the University of Iowa has roughly 80% boards pass rate the first time, which is above the national average (Shaun O’Neil, personal communication, February 20, 2015). One interpretation to the above data can be that the curriculum allows students to use both practical and theoretical skills at more successful rates than their peers from other

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