Why Theory Just Isn’t Enough: Hands-on Learning for All Ages


In education, there’s always been push and pull between theory and application. Classroom teachers have the challenge of balancing passing along important knowledge with allowing their learners adequate time and opportunity to develop it into practical skills. Teachers recognize that at some point in a learner’s academic and professional career, they will be recognized not just for what they know, but for the experience and practice they can demonstrate.

In corporate and industrial training, the need for applied learning becomes even more immediate. Companies and organizations send team members for training so that they may perform better at their jobs, and team members themselves are learning in the midst of working, with limited time and resources to devote to studies.

All of these reasons can be given for the current emphasis on hands-on learning, and technology that can not only make it more efficient, but makes it more focused and meaningful. While theory will always be at the core of any field of study or training, there is now a pressing need to be able to set learners on tasks as soon as possible.

Here are few benefits of a hands-on approach to learning:

It spans all ages

What’s natural to a preschooler is still necessary to an industry professional. We may stop calling it play as we progress through our education, but that doesn’t change the fact that it needs to be there in some shape or form.

It engages a wide variety of learning styles

Whether a learner is visual, auditory, or kinesthetic, being engaged in an activity, as opposed to just being given theory, adds a context and meaning to what’s being covered.

It changes the role of an educator in a positive way

Hands-on learning opens up opportunities for educators to walk through material with their learners, as opposed to delivering it in a one-directional manner.

It makes assessment and evaluation richer

Learners have more opportunities to really show what they’ve learned, and educators have a better sense of what has and hasn’t been synthesized.

It lasts

Learning by doing tends to result in better retention over time. This is not only beneficial as learners move from school to work, but as they move from career to career. Certification that’s based on hands-on learning indicates more than just a learner’s capacity to memorize and explain. It demonstrates concrete skills and the ability to combing theory and practice.

Want to know more about how your company or organization can bring a hands-on approach to training? Contact us!