As I watch my daughter, I love to see her experience new things: trying a new flavor of food, figuring out a new toy or looking at a new book. There is no limit to her curiosity or her learning.
Each interaction she has with the world is what David Kolb calls a concrete experience. That is the first of four stages of learning, according to the educational theorist and philosopher.
As my little girl, or any other explorer, reflects on the experience he or she asks the question “So what?” or “Why is this important?” With a bit of guidance the child can then take the experience and generalize what happened in an abstract way that leads them to ask “Now what?”—as in, what can this new information tell me about interacting with the world. The little explorers are then able to apply what was learned in the next experience.
Learning is a cyclical pattern involving concrete experiences, taking a minute to reflect on them, generalize the information and apply it in the next experience.