Top 5 benefits of hands-on learning experiences for students

Top 5 benefits of hands-on learning experiences for students

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Educational strategies that optimize classroom learning have long piqued the interest of researchers. Prominently, hands-on learning, known for its profound influence on cognition and knowledge acquisition, has been a research hotspot for years. While it’s recognized by various names—like minimal teaching, discovery learning, and experiential learning—all these strategies converge on a core principle: students gain deeper understanding when they actively explore and perform tasks, rather than solely depending on direct instruction.

‘Hands-on’ learning epitomizes an active participation in the learning process rather than just passively receiving information. As the term suggests, this method often involves tactile activities, immersing students in practical experiences that extend beyond traditional textbook teachings.

This immersive learning approach deepens comprehension by offering tangible experiences, including:

  • Solving mathematical problems hands-on
  • Undertaking lab experiments in science
  • Assembling functional machines or circuits in technology lessons
  • Replicating historical documents or artifacts in history lessons
  • Crafting original poems, narratives, or essays in English courses

Also Read: 5 innovative approaches to classroom design and pedagogy

Benefits of hands-on learning for students:

1. Learning by doing

Hands-on learning caters to diverse learning preferences in the classroom. Some students favor visual cues, while others benefit from auditory explanations. Still, others grasp concepts best through reading or writing. These methods correspond to visual, auditory, and reading/writing learning styles. Yet, a crucial style, often underserved, is kinesthetic or ‘learning by doing.’

Several elements make hands-on learning effective. It’s highly engaging, fostering active participation as students tackle tasks. This approach not only sharpens their critical thinking but also prompts them to generate and apply knowledge actively. Such active involvement correlates with enhanced academic outcomes, including improved test scores and achievements.

2. Gaining practical experience

Beyond boosting engagement, hands-on learning enables students to utilize their newfound skills in real settings. As the adage goes, practice makes perfect. Numerous academic courses integrate traditional teaching with hands-on activities, especially during laboratory sessions. While classroom lessons present theoretical foundations, labs facilitate the practical application of these principles, reinforcing comprehension and memory.

3. Having a ‘Real’ experience 

Young learners sometimes question the relevance of their lessons. Integrating hands-on experiences into education bridges this gap, demonstrating real-world applications. Typically, students produce tangible outcomes in hands-on scenarios, be it essays, art projects, or construction endeavors. Such project-based learning is empowering, illustrating that their insights can tangibly influence the world.

4. Expressing creativity

To flourish, creativity requires consistent nurturing. Hands-on learning presents myriad avenues to exercise this innate talent. While many associate creativity primarily with arts or music, it’s pivotal across disciplines. Given the right opportunities, students can unleash their imaginative prowess even in subjects like history, science, and math. This fresh perspective often leads to innovative solutions to challenges.

Also Read: How Teachers Can Help Students Excel in Education and Beyond?

5. Activating multiple brain cells

Early childhood marks a phase of brisk brain growth, with the initial six years being especially pivotal. Each hemisphere of the brain governs distinct abilities: the right side manages visual, spatial tasks, and creativity, while the analytical left side, which oversees skills like reasoning and math, usually matures around ages 10 or 11. Engaging in activities that encompass speaking, listening, and hands-on tasks can stimulate various brain regions simultaneously. This multisensory interaction enhances learning and memory.

Hands-on learning ranks among the top educational methodologies. Even in virtual classrooms, it’s vital to perpetuate this brain-stimulating and imaginative approach to learning.

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