5 Surprising Benefits of Hands-on Learning that You Do Not Realize
In 2008, a group of Science students from Purdue University conducted a study to get students interested in learning Science and Mathematics specifically in water purification. They manipulated the variables by introducing two different learning approaches: hands-on and lecturing. The results were astoundingly significant. Students who learn water purification through lectures gained less than those who learned hands-on through design models, especially students whose native language was not English. Students who learned through design models learned more despite the difference in language, ethnicity and socioeconomic. Although that research alone is insufficient, it at least proves one point- Hands-on learning transcends language, ethnicity, and socioeconomic class.
The purpose of hands-on learning is to allow children to develop meaningful skills by having fun through linking new concepts to ideas that they already understand. Children learn through all the senses by touching, manipulating, mixing and grasping.
- Learn from Failures
Children must be given a chance to perform tasks on their own. It is a method of teaching children that every person is susceptible to making mistakes and it is a learning process. Therefore, they should not be frustrated if they fail to fulfill their teachers’ or parents’ expectation because that is not the worst thing in the world. When doing hands-on learning, children can learn from their mistake through trial and error. They can learn from their mistakes and keep doing the task until they finally succeed.
- Engage students in learning
There are certain learning situations whereby acquiring new skills are not conducted through classroom learning. For example, in order to be good at swimming, children have to get into the water and swim. A person can read a thousand manuals about swimming but one must remember, the skills aren’t transferable. We can even make subjects like Mathematics to be more interesting and fun by just changing it into hands-on learning. Khan Academy started to teach Mathematics by building 3D models:
3. Learn independently
When learning hands-on, children are provided with tools and materials which are open to their liberty to use to attain success for the assigned task. Thus, they are encouraged to do things for themselves. Children have to be resourceful most of the time to find solutions rather than relying on teachers to give them all the answers. It can benefit them to learn to do things and make decisions independently in real life.
- Connect with real-world application
Classes become boring and students zone out when they don’t understand the purpose of learning the lesson or they feel like it is not applicable in the real world. Hands-on learning often provides connection and relevance between the theory they studied in class and its real world application. So, they have insights on how to apply it to the real world. It doesn’t matter how much knowledge you have, it is what are you going to do with the knowledge that matters more.
- Develop creativity and critical thinking skills
Hands on learning are open-ended and subjective. So do real world problems. There are often more than one solution for a particular problem. They also have to think critically to judge which solution is the best for different stakeholders. It helps them develop the ability to think in other people’s perspectives.
It is really hard for you to understand the benefits of hands-on learning through words. We need to walk the talk, that’s why we need to let you understand through a video. We have included a video here to illustrate how students from High Tech High learn through hands-on learning.