The personal application assignment is based on Kolb’s model (1971) of experient

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The personal application assignment is based on Kolb’s model (1971) of experiential learning. The use of
this model can help solve the problem of performance assessment. The model argues that learning
occurs through a process which might begin with a concrete experience, which leads to reflective
observation about the experience. Abstract conceptualization follows in which models, paradigms,
strategies, and metaphors are applied to the results of the experience. Active experimentation
concludes the cycle as the concepts are then put into practice, thus generating new concrete
Choosing a good topic is essential. Select an experience that relates to the assigned course topics. It
should be an experience that you would like to understand better, (e.g. there was something about it
that you do not totally understand, that intrigues you, that made you realize that you lacked certain
managerial skills, or that was problematical or significant for you.) The topic must be meaty enough to
take it through the entire learning cycle. I recommend identifying your “plot” and then outlining the
paper across all four elements to see if this topic will work. The incident does not have to be work
related; an incident in any setting (sport teams, school, family, club, church, etc.) that relates to the
course topics is acceptable.
Elements of the PAA
1. Concrete experience – in this section the student describes what happened in the
experience. It possesses an objective and a subjective component. The feelings experienced by
the student as well as his or her thoughts and perceptions during the experience are important
to set the context. Helpful hints: (1) Replay the experience in your mind, then write a report of
what you saw, heard, felt, thought as well as what others were doing. (2) Avoid detailed
mechanics of the experience unless they are critical to the paper. (3) Avoid reporting the
feelings and thoughts experienced after the experience being described.
2. Reflective Observation – Ask yourself, what did I observe in the experience and what
possible meanings could these observations have? The key here is to gather as many
observations as possible by observing the experience from different points of view. This is called
perspective taking or what some people call “re-framing.” You can include how others viewed
the situation, however don’t ask them now. Would a neutral observer have seen or heard
anything else? Look beneath the surface and try to explain why the people involved behaved the
way they did. Reflect on these observations to discover the personal meaning that the situation
had for you. Helpful hints: (1) Discuss the experience with others to gain their views and clarify
your perceptions. (2) Unhook yourself from the experience and meditate about it in a relaxed
atmosphere. Mull over your observations until their personal meaning comes clear to you. Try
to figure out why people, and you in particular, behaved as they did. What can you learn about
yourself, looking back on the experience?
3. Abstract Conceptualization – by relating assigned readings and lectures to what you
experienced, you are demonstrating your ability to understand conceptually abstract material
through your experience. Use at least two concepts or theories from the course readings.
Provide the source for each reference in the following manner (George & Jones, pg. 157). This is
also a place where you can insert your own personally developed theories if they help you in
making sense of the experience. First, briefly describe the concept or theory as you would for
someone who was not familiar with it. Next, apply the concept thoroughly to your experience.
The tie-in should include the specific details of how the theory relates to and provides insight
into your experience. Does the experience support or refute the theory? Avoid merely providing
a book report of what you read. Helpful hints: (1) It is sometimes useful to identify theoretical
concepts first and then search out and elaborate on an experience that relates to these
concepts. (2) A slightly more difficult approach is to reverse the above procedure and search out
those concepts that apply to your “raw” experience.
4. Active Experimentation – this section of the paper should summarize both the
practical lessons you have learned from this experience and the action steps you plan to work
on. Begin this section with a paragraph on the lessons you have learned and identify them as
lessons for the reader. Next, please present four action steps that will increase your future
effectiveness. These actions should relate back to the previous sections of the paper. You can
state them in the form of guidelines as to how you would act differently or detailed resolutions
you could take to develop or practice. Be specific and thorough. Don’t just repeat tips from the
book. Include one action that is based upon new knowledge that you gained about yourself as a
result of writing this paper. If you were to relive this situation what would you do differently
next time? Helpful hints: (1) Project a future experience in which you envision the
implementation of your ideas and then elaborate on that experience as a way of demonstrating
how your actions will be carried out. (2) Where does this situation exist in your life? Do you
need a support system to make it happen? How will you obtain the cooperation of others? (3)
Try to imagine the final results of your experimentations.
This paper should be a minimum of 2, and a maximum of 4 pages in length, double spaced with no more than 1 page
for each section. Check for spelling and grammar. Write four elements separately, thank you.

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