About the Kolb Team Learning Experience (TLE)

A picture of the Kolb Team Learning Experience (TLE) booklet cover page

The Team Learning Modules

Module 1 – Team Learning Overview

This module, introduces the process of experiential learning. You will follow this process as you navigate the team learning modules.

Module 2 – Team Purpose

Your team will set its direction by defining the team’s goal(s). You will also discuss individual team member’s goals and the importance of alignment between individual and team goals. Your team will work to create an environment of trust and safety essential for learning.

Module 3 – Team Membership

You will explore the learning styles of your team members and the overall team learning profile. These will serve as the basis for understanding how to leverage the similarities and differences in your learning styles to improve team performance.

Module 4 – Team Roles

Team members will share their individual skills and the roles they would prefer to play on the team. Role preferences indicate your strengths and weaknesses in performing different team tasks.

Module 5 – Team Context

Your team will identify the situational demands the team faces. These demands are generally driven by the team’s specific goals, but may affect by the environment within and beyond the team as well. Guided by its goals, your team will identify specific tasks to be accomplished.

Module 6 – Team Process

Your team will identify strategies for navigating different regions of the learning cycle. You will decide who will take the leadership role on specific tasks, how your team will address each stage of the learning cycle, and how your team will keep from getting stuck in each stage of the cycle.

Module 7 – Action Planning

The team develops an action plan to accomplish its goals by assigning tasks among members.


The Team Learning Materials

Team Learning Workbook.

Learning Space Wall Chart – This colorful chart is used to plot important team member and task information.

Team Member Cards – Each team member receives a Team Member Card. In certain modules, members will be instructed to add specific information (Learning styles/role preferences) to their cards and to place them on the Learning Space Wall Chart.

Team Task Cards – As a team, you will complete a set of Team Task Cards. These cards will include the team tasks and the task demands (basically, the skills needed to complete the tasks).

The workbook will help you learn the basic skills necessary to work successfully in a team. Experiential learning values the unique contribution of each team member and emphasizes developing skills that help team members work together effectively and accomplish individual and team goals.

Who should use the Kolb Team Learning Experience:

The Kolb Team Learning Experience can be used by any team-newly formed or existing-that wants to make the most of the individual and the collective potential of its members. Student teams and work teams alike will benefit from the experience.

What will you gain by going through the Kolb Team Learning Experience:

Your team will gain:

  • a clear and unanimous understanding of its purpose
  • a greater appreciation for the strengths and weaknesses associated with the learning styles, preferences, and skills of your members
  • a greater understanding of the demands and obstacles that your team may face
  • an action plan for accomplishing your goals

Selected Research on Experiential Approach to Team Learning:

Kayes, D. C., Kayes, A., & Kolb, D. A. (2005) [Experiential learning in teams], Simulation and Gaming, 36(3):330-354.

Carlsson, B., Keane, P., & Martin, J. B. (1976). R & D organizations as learning systems. Sloan Management Review, 17, 1-15.

Druskat, V. U. , Kayes, D. C. (2000). Learning versus performance in short term project teams. Small Groups Research, 31(3), 328-353.

Fernandes, C. L. (1988). Role shaping in a high-tech organization using experiential learning theory. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Case Western Reserve University.

Halstead, A. and Martin, L. (2002). Learning styles: a tool for selecting students for group work. International Journal of Electrical Engineering Education, 39 (3). 245-252.

Kayes, D. C. (2003). Proximal team learning: Lesson from United flight 93 on 9/11/ Organizational Dynamics, 32(1), 80-92.

Kayes, D. C. (2001). Experiential learning in teams: A study in learning style, group process and integrative complexity in ad hoc groups. Unpublished Doctoral dissertation, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland.

Sharp, J. E. (2001).Teaching teamwork communication with Kolb Learning Style Inventory. October 10-13, 2001 Reno, NV 31st ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference.

Julie E. Sharp, Vanderbilt University, Engineering School, Nashville, TN 37235, Julie.e.sharp@vanderbilt.edu

Wolfe, J. (1977). Learning styles rewarded in a complex simulation with implications for business policy and organizational behavior research. Paper presented at the Academy of Management Proceedings.