Learning Theories behind Sands Leadership’s Approach : 

  • The main learning theory used in SLDC is David Kolb’s experiential learning model.  Essentially Kolb’s experiential learning model describes how an individual makes sense of, or learns from, new experiences.  Through a process of reflection new meanings or knowledge is created (for the individual).  This learning theory is often used in outdoor and other forms of non-formal education which recognises and builds on prior or existing knowledge, beliefs or values.  It is an upward spiral learning cycle promoting growth through experimentation, reflection, learning and application. The upward spiral only occurs when there is a committed effort to apply the new learning. 
  • SLDC also uses Leon Festinger’s (1957) classic theory of Cognitive Dissonance. This theory states that “Cognitive dissonance can be seen as an antecedent condition which leads to activity oriented toward dissonance reduction just as hunger leads toward activity oriented toward hunger reduction.”  In other words, humans have the need to achieve internal consistency and so will change their beliefs and/or behaviour in order to reduce this discomfort.  Our courses and activities will, therefore, seek to create the cognitive dissonance needed for behavioural change.
  • When combined, these two theories form a powerful approach to help the students challenge and clarify their beliefs and act to create a better world.