“Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience. Knowledge results from the combination of grasping experience and transforming it.”– Kolb, 1984.

The Learning Cycle

This matrix provides a learning cycle that involves four processes that must be present for learning to occur. Kolb called this Experiential Learning since experience is the source of learning and development. Each end of the continuum (modes) provides a step in the learning process:

learning cycle

learning cycle

  • Concrete experience (feeling): Learning from specific experiences and relating to people. Sensitive to other’s feelings.
  • Reflective observation (watching): Observing before making a judgment by viewing the environment from different perspectives. Looks for the meaning of things.
  • Abstract conceptualization (thinking): Logical analysis of ideas and acting on intellectual understanding of a situation.
  • Active experimentation (doing): Ability to get things done by influencing people and events through action. Includes risk-taking.

Depending upon the situation or environment, the learners may enter the learning cycle at any point and will best learn the new task if they practice all four modes

 Kolb’s Learning Styles and Experiential Learning Model



Wilderness experiential learning places individuals in a wilderness environment in order to develop their human potential through personal growth, education, therapy, leadership and organisational development activities. The rationale supporting the choice of wilderness programmes as an experiential learning and therapeutic approach for young people is the premise that behaviour portrayed in an individual can be seen as the expression of one’s perception of self and self in relationship to other. Research indicates that the experience of a wilderness encounter engenders self-esteem. This process facilitates the learning and practice of pro-social behaviour. Provided the opportunities and support mechanisms are available, the individual will be able to transfer this learning back to his/her home community.

Challenge Program
Therapeutic uses of outdoor education – cyc-net.org



In Theory U: Leading from the Future as It Emerges (Cambridge, MA: Society for Organizational Learning, 2007), Otto Scharmer introduces the theory and practice of the U process, based on a concept he calls “presencing.” A blend of the words “presence” and “sensing,” presencing signifies a heightened state of attention that allows individuals and groups to shift the inner place from which they function. When that shift happens, people begin to operate from a future space of possibility that they feel wants to emerge. Being able to facilitate that shift is, according to Scharmer, the essence of leadership today. To be effective leaders, we must first understand the field, or inner space, from which we are operating. Theory U identifies four such “field structures of attention,” which result in four different ways of operating. These differingstructures affect not only the way we listen, butalso how group members communicate withone another, and how institutions form theirgeometries of power. (Extracted from: Addressing the blind spot of our time – C. OTTO SCHARMER



(Adapted from The Four Shields: Initiatory Seasons of Human Nature, Lost Borders Press)

If there were a measure of “mental health,” it would involve the ability of individuals to grow into the fullness of each season-that is, the ability to fully become, or enact, the contents of each shield.

The SUMMER SHIELD of basically healthy persons would be athletic, earthy in a physical sense, instinctive, playful, emotional, sensual, innocently erotic, with a strongly developed sense of the child within. There would be a good deal of skin-skin contact with the earth.

The FALL SHIELD of such persons would be capable of deep introspection, would crave solitude in the psycho-sphere, feel deeply and empathetically, love self, possess a conscience, and dream the dreams of the sacred ancestors. Such persons would be severed from their childhood. Having internalized their mother and father through rites of initiation, they would have adopted a greater mother and father. They would be people of inner character and possess a soul.

The WINTER SHIELD would be capable of mature judgment, self-control, appropriate action, marriage, parenting, working, with a strong sense of community and family. Social behaviour would be marked by responsibility, diplomacy, foresight, and tact. The biggest concern would be for the welfare of the children.

The SPRING SHIELD would be imaginative, creative, inventive, spiritual, and capable of awe and reverence. All life would be seen as holy, sacred and saturated with signs of spirit.

The shields of human nature turn with the experiences of life. It begins with the body (summer), turns into psyche (fall), becomes activated form (winter), which dissolves into spirit (spring) — which is born again in the body (summer). The four seasonal directions of human nature, in their complex, yet simple, interaction, form the basis of an ecopsychology which redefines traditional psychologies based on human alone, apart from nature.- The four shields of wholeness




The medicine wheel image that symbolizes the Circle of Courage assessment and intervention model reflects the intertwining of the components of human character that are essential for healthy emotional development.All four parts of an individual’s “circle” must be intact in order to have a self-secure, prosocial approach to life. A lack of strength in any of the four areas of development results in emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Belonging/Attachment: The need for belonging is met by being prosocially connected to significant others; having a sense of emotional connection to individuals singly or in groups (clubs, teams, interest groups, family, supportive people). Having emotionally healthy and secure bonds with others promotes feelings of positive self-worth, preparing young people to form healthy, nurturing attachments in the future.

Mastery/Achievement: When one can take pride in one’s competence in areas of strength, there is a willingness to undertake the learning of new skills and knowledge bases, thus making one more capable and willing to undertake more new challenges. Those who are strong in the medicine wheel quadrant of “Mastery” feel competent in their abilities, and seek more skills and knowledge.

Independence/Autonomy: Children need opportunities to develop self-sufficiency and self-governance. This is accomplished by being given opportunities to accept responsibility, and prove oneself trustworthy. From these learning experiences, young people develop the ability to self-manage their actions and make good choices. They learn how their decisions influence their destiny.

Generosity/Altruism: Children need opportunities to engage in helpful and thoughtful behaviours. By helping individuals and groups who live in their immediate world (without expectation of payment), young people become empathetic toward others and want to help others.

The Intertwining

These four dimensions of the Circle of Courage model are inextricably intertwined, each one responding to and affecting the others and the whole.

Circle of Courage