Blog: The Importance of Hands-On Learning
It’s a commonly held belief that there are two types of learners, those that learn by doing, and those that learn by seeing. Well, that’s not technically true. Depending on your school of thought, or how in-depth you decide to go. It is a common thought that there are as many as seven different types of learners, we’re going to be focusing on one, the hands-on or Practical Learner.
What is a Practical Learner?
Before discussing the importance of practical learning, we first need to understand what a practical learner actually is. A practical learner is someone who learns by doing. What that means is that typically, they learn best by getting involved, rather than just being told how to do something.
Practical learners like to get their hands dirty and as such, they tend to be drawn towards more practical, hands-on courses such as Motor Vehicle, Sport and Public Services. These types of courses can lead students down some very interesting and exciting career paths, such as Mechanics, Sports Therapy or Uniformed Services like Police, Firefighters or even a career in the Armed Forces.
Why is Practical Learning Important?
It promotes self-learning: Imagine teaching someone to swim, without entering a swimming pool. Some subjects are skill-based and practice-oriented. At Dearne Valley College, our Motor Vehicle department boasts state-of-the-art workshops that allow students to make use of the latest technology and tools for the benefit of their learning. It enables students to understand and take a practical approach to their learning, whilst boosting their confidence.
Retaining information: Practical learning is also a great way for you to retain the information you have learned. It’s often said that you remember something better when you do it on your own. With good practice and experience comes the ability to remember. For example, when changing a tyre on a car, the more often you do it, not only will you be able to do it quicker, you’ll also remember any issues and workarounds you had to do the previous time.
Adaptability: Practical learning can help students improve their problem-solving skills. Getting to grips with a task, identifying any problems along the way and learning how to overcome them are key characteristics employers are looking for and will set you apart from the competition.
Increased Interest: Practical learners learn by doing, so sitting in a classroom being talked to by a lecturer may not be the best setting for a practical learner. A learning environment has to be created where you can practically understand what you have been taught in class. An example would be watching someone sail a boat versus sailing the boat yourself.
Interactive learning: When you understand a subject on your own, you are more likely to come up with many doubts and questions. Clarifying these and making it an interactive experience helps you understand more. This type of input from students is a great way to help understand their level of thinking.
Our Sports and Public Services departments are great examples of how practical learning can really benefit students. Promoting not only active lifestyles but giving you the perfect example of “learn by doing”.