Top 5 benefits of hands-on learning experiences for students

Top 5 benefits of hands-on learning experiences for students

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hands-on learning for students

For a while now, researchers have been drawn to education strategies that maximize learning within the classroom. Among these, hands-on learning, which significantly impacts cognition and learning, has been a focal point of research for decades. Various names like minimal teaching, discovery learning, and experiential learning refer to hands-on strategies used in classrooms. Despite minor differences among these methods, they all share a common belief – students learn most effectively when they independently discover information or complete tasks, rather than relying on direct teaching.

The term ‘hands-on’ represents a process where students actively participate and experience learning, as opposed to mere passive absorption. This approach typically involves physical tasks, hence the name ‘hands-on’. It offers students a deeper understanding of concepts, such as mathematical ideas, beyond traditional textbook theory.

Hands-on learning enhances comprehension through engaging, practical opportunities, such as:

  • Tackling problem-solving exercises in math classes
  • Conducting lab experiments in science lessons
  • Building functional machines or circuits in technology lessons
  • Creating replicas of historical documents or artifacts in history classes
  • Crafting original poems, stories, or essays for 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 accommodates various learning styles within the classroom. While some students prefer learning visually through pictures, others thrive when listening to explanations from parents or teachers. There are also learners who absorb knowledge best by reading or writing about a topic. These learning modes are known as visual, auditory, and reading/writing, respectively. However, there’s a fourth style often overlooked – kinesthetic or ‘learning by doing.’

Several factors make hands-on learning effective. It is highly engaging, promoting active learning as students are tasked with completing a task. This allows them to apply their knowledge and hone their critical thinking skills. Importantly, this instructional style encourages students to actively create knowledge rather than merely absorb it. To create and apply knowledge, students need to participate actively, which has been linked to improved academic performance, including higher test scores and achievements.

2. Gaining practical experience

Apart from improving engagement, hands-on learning offers students an opportunity to apply their newly learned skills. Anyone who has ever mastered a skill can attest that practice makes perfect. Numerous academic classes nationwide combine conventional learning methods with active learning aspects during laboratory sessions. Though classroom instruction introduces students to theoretical concepts, the labs allow them to apply these concepts, thereby enhancing understanding and retention.

3. Having a ‘Real’ experience 

Young students often struggle to understand the relevance of what they’re learning. By incorporating hands-on learning into classrooms or homes, parents and teachers can demonstrate the practical application of these lessons. Students typically create something tangible in hands-on learning scenarios, like essays, artwork, construction projects, and more. Project-based learning can be empowering, showing students that their knowledge can have real-world impacts. It’s a concrete manifestation of what they’ve learned.

4. Expressing creativity

Creativity needs regular exercise to remain vibrant. Hands-on learning offers students additional opportunities to apply their creative skills. When people hear ‘creativity,’ their minds often leap to music or art. While these subjects are crucial for child development, there are other ways to foster creativity. With adequate practice, students can express creativity in subjects like history, science, and even math. Creativity allows students to see subjects from a fresh perspective, potentially devising unique solutions to problems.

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

5. Activating multiple brain cells

Early childhood is a time of rapid brain development, with the first six years being particularly critical. Each brain hemisphere controls different sets of abilities, with the right side being responsible for visual and spatial tasks and creativity. Meanwhile, the analytical left side, which handles skills like reasoning and math, typically develops when students are around 10 or 11. Engaging in tasks that involve talking, listening, and using hands can activate multiple brain areas at once, promoting learning and memory through multisensory play.

Hands-on learning stands as one of the most effective educational strategies. It’s essential for the virtual classroom to continue fostering this brain-engaging and creative learning approach.

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Rahul Saxena / August 14, 2023

This blog excellently highlights the incredible advantages of hands-on learning. From fostering active engagement to deepening understanding, hands-on experiences captivate students’ attention. Kudos for showcasing how such immersive learning enhances problem-solving skills, creativity, and retention. This approach not only makes education enjoyable but also equips students with practical skills crucial for real-world success. An insightful read that underscores the power of experiential learning!

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