Free Essay: Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model Compared to Kolb’s Linear Model
The ecological model of Bronfenbremnner and the Kolb liner theory are considered in this paper. These models are learning styles’ examples. They have been adopted widely in different systems of education (Martin & Fabes, 2009). Learning styles refer to consistent ways of enabling students to respond to any stimuli during the learning process. They are the basis of cognitive, physiological as well as effective factors which indicate the way learners perceive, interact and respond to any form of learning. The discussion of this paper focuses on external forces that differentiate Brofenbrenner’s model from the Kolb’s linear model. The paper also outlines the crucial Kolb’s model analysis with consideration of Bronfenbrenner’s model. The paper will also critique Kolb’s model.
Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model
According to Brofenbrenner, to understand human development fully, the ecological environment where a person grows in should be analyzed. He notes that the system has five major external factors known as the subsystems. They direct and support human development. They also depend on the lifestyle of a person and they provide different sources and options to growth (Evans, 2010). A person is able to increase the ability to solve problems in the learning environment, develop self-exploitation ability and improve social skills due to their access to these subsystems.
Brofenbrenner’s model is different from Kolb’s linear theory because it stresses the effects that the environment in which a person grows in has on their development. Thus, environment influences learning. There are five external forces that Brofenbrenner outlines in his model which are not considered important for any learning process by Kolb’s model. They include the mesosystem, microsystem, exosystem, chronosystem and macrosystem (Merriam, et al., 2007).
Microsystem is the environment that is closer to the child. It provides contact with different structures. It is made of relationships of the child such as relationships with family, friends, neighbors, classroom or childcare. The implication of this system is that the child is affected by inner influences which are stronger than external forces. The microsystem offers the first avenue via which a child learns about the word. It also acts as the reference point of the child. Essentially, the child is nurtured by this system because it provides haunting occurrences within the child’s memory. Relationships are powerful within this system because they influence a child’s personality. They also develop trust from the attachment that a child has with parents as well as the existing mutuality (Shaffer, 2009).
The mesosystem offers a point where a person’s microsystem structures meet. Interactions of microsystem factors characterize it as well as determination of whether these are familiar or not. These affect a child’s development since they offer a communication means between different aspects of the life of a person. Connections between teachers, parents, neighbors and church represent the mesosystem.
The exosystem is characterized by a large social network that a child is not exposed to. This subsystem has factors that interact with those of the microsystem of a child. Thus, they affect the child’s development. In this regards, examples include the workplace of a parent and resources that the community supply to the family. The interaction force between microsystem and exosystem affects a child either negatively or positively. A child’s development can be degraded or empowered by this interaction. Macrosystems on other hand comprises of ethics, laws and cultural values. Their characteristics are the pattern or organization of a group or the society. This subsystem plays the role of holding different life aspects together. It also affects how relations or events are executed.
Transformations and environmental occurrences during the life of a person as well as historical events characterize chronosystem. Such occurrences include deaths of loved ones, divorce and earthquake which might affect development. Within a learning environment, learners exhibit different reactions because of the variation of factors that affect their microsystem. By interacting with one another, students learn from one another. They also comprehend different means of learning.
Critique of the Kolb’s Model
Before critiquing Kolb’s model, it is important to comprehend its framework and scope. There are learning styles that were developed by David Kolb in 1984. This model was created out of these styles. Many discussions have emerged from this model. In most cases, it is applied in adult learning. Kolb argues that this model cannot happen by simply reading about or watching something. For knowledge to be acquired, one has to practice (Martinez-Pons, 2001). The framework of this model comprises of two features. These are the four learning stages and Learning Style Inventory (LSI) (Kolb, 1984). In the four-stage style, a learning cycle where experience is translated into concepts via reflection is described. These concepts are used in guiding the active experimentation and new experiences’ choices. These processes can be summarized as a concrete experience, abstract conceptualization, reflective observation, as well as active experimentation. They all follow one another as follows (Jordan, et al., 2008).
Since Kolb’s did this work in the 1970s, scholars have criticized it for various reasons. While doing this, the work was examined thoroughly to address several issues. These include answering questions like; what does learning means? Are learning methods different to make the four-stage cycle necessary?
The examination discovered that the learning definition of Kolb was incorrect because it distorts major references on which it is based. His proposal is a different definition which is consistent with the fundamentals of his model. According to Kolb’s model, learning definition implies that it affects domains’ choices. The definition of Kolb supports knowledge stance which is a sensory participation’s function that cognitive process follows. Nevertheless, this definition contradicts the empirical fundamentals because it draws from the Piaget’s cognitive development levels. These do not indicate the essence of any learning experience (Shaffer, 2009).
Although Kolb’s model has facilitated learning as well as understanding among different adults, it does not indicate an actual representation of the way learning takes place in humans. Unresolved issues and contradictions on the theory’s foundation have been accumulating since the model was examined. In the second Kolb’s linear model review, basic propositions of the foundation of the model are addressed as well as their nature, various learning modes and their position in relation to learning theory. The review indicates that the four learning modes are unnecessary for any learning and inconsistent. The conclusion of the review is that this section of this theory contradicts itself and it comprises of inherent inconsistencies. A study of the four-stage style of learning shows several findings (Merriam et al., 2007).
First, the indicated four stages are not important or necessary for any learning to occur. However, they can demonstrate real learning effectively if revised reasonably. Second, the conceptualization and experience stages are not positioned properly in this cycle. A person acquires knowledge after changing their experiences fully. Consciousness is involved. Third, active experimentation and reflective observation are not placed properly in the transformation cycle. Additionally, active experimentation and reflective observation are not distinguished properly in this cycle. The point of correct differentiation ought to have focused on intension and extension. Nevertheless, activities that are directed towards the environment and learners have been declared inherent in the two stages (Watts et al., 2009).
Similarly, Kolb portrays the four-stages as distinct and inseparable. This makes the stages look interpenetrating and interconnected. Consequently, the implication is that learning needs opposite and polar abilities that a person must choose continuously so that they can feature in various learning situations. This notion distorts other famous people’s finding such as Dewey, Lewin and Piaget. These stages should be interpenetrating, reciprocal and dependent. They ought to be represented in a manner that is more appropriate so that integrity and validity can be achieved.
False learning definition in reference to the adaptive choices is another critique. The entire learning process ought not to compare to adaptive learning because the cause of adaptive choices is learning and adaptive choices can bring new experiences, hence one can learn something from it. This implies that it can create a learning avenue. However, adaptive choices cannot create knowledge, intuition or understanding. As such, different contradictions of the four stage learning style raise questions about Kolb’s model validity, measures, and four -stage styles as well as techniques Merriam, et al., 2007).
The proposition of Kolb is that learning comprises of conflicts and tension. This is another misappropriation. Tension is a bad way of mediating the learning stages. The proposal of Kolb is that tension acts as a connecting mechanism for these stages, the environment and the learners. Nevertheless, tension cannot be applied in learning because conflict drives learning (Watts, Cockroft, & Duncan, 2009). Additionally, these stages do not have to be there for any learning to occur. However, when revised reasonably they can depict real learning (Shaffer, 2009). Second, conceptualization and experience stages are not positioned properly in the cycle. A person acquires knowledge after experiences change fully. This entails consciousness. Third, active experimentation and reflective observation are not placed properly in the transformation cycle.
To critique any system, the system’s failures must be examined. The foundation of Kolb’s model is assumptions, erroneous and false principles. This has led to inconsistencies. To correct the situation, one must use assumptions from thoughts, development of another system, providing justifications or abandoning this theory.
From the analysis of this paper, it is apparent that there are several theories that attempt to make learning process simpler. The emphasis of Brofenbrenner’s model is on the impact that ecological environment has on an individual’s development which impact on the learning ability later. Kolb’s liner model on the other hand presents a learning cycle that has four stages with inseparable modes. Nevertheless, there has been criticism for Kolb’s model due to the inconsistencies that it has on fundamental assumptions. Consequently, the model should be amended. Different factors of Bronfenbrenner have been outlined in this paper. However, these are absent in Kolb’s model. Additionally, the paper has discussed Kolb’s model critiques.
Evans, N. J. (2010). Student development in college: Theory, research, and practice. San
Jordan, A., Carlile, O., & Stack, A. (2008). Approaches to learning: A guide for teachers.
Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Martin, C. L., Fabes, R. A., & Fabes, R. A. (2009). Discovering child development. Boston:
Houghton Mifflin Co.
Martinez-Pons, M. (2001). The psychology of teaching and learning: A three step approach. London [u.a.:
Merriam, S. B., Caffarella, R. S., & Baumgartner, L. (2007). Learning in adulthood: A
comprehensive guide. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Shaffer, D. R. (2009). Social and personality development. Australia: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.
Watts, J., Cockcroft, K., & Duncan, N. (2009). Developmental psychology. Cape Town, South
Africa: UCT Press.
Would you like assistance in writing an essay like the one above? Get in touch with us by clicking here. Alternatively you can peruse through the archives to read more essays and other academic papers.