A paradigm in architectural education: Kolb's Model and learning styles in studio pedagogy


  • Sara Khorshidifard University of Wisconsin Milwaukee




architectural education, studio pedagogy, cognition, learning styles, Kolb's Experiential Learning Cycle


In line with "learner-centered” teaching paradigm (Weimer 2002), enhancing learning experiences in design studio should be a fundamental concern positioned at the center of attention in current discourses of architectural education research. This focus warrants further studies on students' cognitive patterns and learning processes to identify what goes in learners' minds, and how learning style variations affect knowledge acquisition. In the applied and overlapping fields of architecture, urban design, and landscape architecture, drawing on cognitive studies and Kolb's Experiential Learning Model have important implications for integrating and transferring learning in seminar/lectures to studio environments. Cognitive psychologists make distinctions between "declarative” recalling of factual knowledge and "procedural” knowledge of knowing to perform activities (Bruning, Schraw, and Ronning 2004:46-48). "Structural knowledge” is referred to "as internal connectedness, integrative understanding, or as conceptual knowledge” that "is used to develop procedural knowledge to solving domain problems,” involving the integration of declarative knowledge (Jonassen, Beissner, & Yacci 1993: 5). Kolb (1984) similarly describes how "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 1984:41).” Various knowledge types are integral to learning in architectural education; thus, this paper proposes a course design model that investigates various knowledge implications. On the one hand, the studio environment, although productive and rich in learning experiences and professional opportunities, sometimes can be stressful, where teacher/peer pressures and competitive attitudes negate learning potential and lead to unproductive results. A one-semester long studio might not always offer the required time or space to learn procedural knowledge, for example, to solve complicated urban design problems, and in particular, to recognize multiple patterns affecting an urban/suburban context. However, lectures/seminars, on the other hand, usually attempt to convey significant declarative knowledge in one semester, sometimes without addressing actual application to studio projects. The objective of this paper is to propose a learner-centered pedagogical framework that applies Kolb's Experiential Learning Model and integrates and foster significant interplay between the learning of declarative knowledge in theory classes and the procedural knowledge needed to solve design problems in studio environments.




How to Cite

Khorshidifard, S. (2014). A paradigm in architectural education: Kolb’s Model and learning styles in studio pedagogy. ARCC Conference Repository. https://doi.org/10.17831/rep:arcc%y370