The learning process within much of the practical and lab environment for sonography training align with Kolb’s experiential learning cycle.
The four stages that complete the cycle include: experience, reflection, conceptualization and experimentation. During typical training in the sonography lab, students start with an experience, such as practicing hands on use of the ultrasound equipment. The students are given opportunity to observe the correct way to utilize the machinery by watching live and online demos, then reflect upon ways to modify and improve their skills. These new skills are then tested with experimentation. Experimentation can occur in upcoming lab sessions, where students apply the learned skills on a fellow classmate, using simulators to practice the hands on skills or in the clinical environment on actual patients.
The most important learning style described in Kolb’s experiential learning cycle pertinent to sonography is the practical or converging learning style. Practical application is the foundation of the problem-solving, technical field of sonography training and industry. Students who learn easily by thinking and doing tend to excel in the practical learning environment. Because not all students learn best with this learning style, more guidance and facilitation may be needed from instructors as these students transition into the experimental stage of Kolb’s learning cycle.