Experiential Learning in Teams

Teamwork is prevalent in organizations, yet it has pitfalls such as social loafing, groupthink, overdependence on a dominant leader, overcommitment to goals, and diffusion of responsibility. Such negative factors can be overcome and team effectiveness improved when teams intentionally focus on learning. This article draws on nearly four decades of research and theory on experiential learning theory in teams. We identify learning as the key component of six aspects of team development: purpose, membership, role leadership, context, process, and action. Teams learn differently in early versus later stages of development. The Kolb Team Learning Experience addresses all six aspects through a structured written simulation. Upon completion of the simulation, the team has knowledge about the functions of teams in general, experience about the functions of its team specifically, and awareness of learning and progress through the learning cycle modes.