As noted earlier, some of the Narrative questions will ask you to use Kolb’s Cycle to lead your reviewer through your experiential learning. These questions will be asking you to show metacognition and will lead you to display the learning you’ve achieved, which is one of the requirements for receiving credit for prior learning.
In addition, Narrative questions will also ask you to use Bloom’s Taxonomy to describe your learning. This is designed to ensure that you are displaying college-level learning, which is another requirement for receiving credit for prior learning.
Kolb’s Cycle will help you write because it forms a natural outline and leads you directly into the next step that should be covered. When you write with Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle, go ahead and be clear you’re using it. Put the terminology right into your answer, like, “I began learning about leadership in the Abstract Conceptualization phase–I was young and thought leaders should be stern and yell at their workers, and I imagined all the respect they would give me. My first year on the job, I did this every day. For example…”
That said, there are a few key things to keep in mind as you write using the Kolb and Bloom models.
First, carefully choose your entry point into Kolb’s Cycle. Remember that you can enter the cycle anywhere. It might be your most natural approach, but context might have made you enter in another area.
Also remember that your example that you’re describing in Kolb’s cycle could be something that took place in one day, or one month, or over the course of several years. The span of time in Kolb’s Learning Cycle can be any length–you can go through the cycle in a day, or take a year or more to go through it. Many times, with experiential learning like we are covering with our course challenges, Kolb’s Cycle covers larger periods of time.
Be thorough and take your time. In Chapter 1, we wrote some examples about building a birdhouse (which weren’t college-level learning, either). Those were also too short and cursory. Your writing should be in more detail and greater depth, taking longer and moving meticulously in each stage. One of Kolb’s stages could take multiple paragraphs across a whole page to cover, possibly, because your reviewers want to see your expertise in action, and the Narrative is where you get to show that.
As you write each stage, make use of the terminology from the course you’re challenging. This will display your natural familiarity with the course topic. Use the Course Objectives, listed in Chapter 2, to find terminology, but feel free to go further.
Also use terminology from your areas of expertise, remembering to explain anything highly technical in layman’s terms.
Keep Bloom in mind as you write your way through Kolb’s cycle. As you’re describing your learning, phrase your learning in terms of the higher levels on his Taxonomy so that you’re showing that higher-order thinking your reviewer wants to see, in order to equate your learning with these college-level classes.
After fully describing one Kolb stage and your learning in that stage, you will move to the next stage of the cycle. What did you learn or what question did you develop in order to move to the next level? That’s the learning process, which you can show to your reviewer.
Even if it’s boring to you, or if it feels like bragging, or like it’s too elementary to explain, it probably isn’t. Remember, you are intimately familiar with your own life, but your reviewer doesn’t know anything about you. You have to present yourself fully and in great detail, so dig deep and give all the details you can.
Your reviewer knows you’re writing in order to challenge a course and petition for credit, so while it may feel like bragging or self-promotion, it’s not. We know why you’re writing this, and we’re looking for that in the writing. This is no time to be humble.