Education is one of the most emphasized areas in our society. Teachers and parents are always concerned about the students’ test scores and averages at the national and global levels. While doing so, they forget to focus on something fundamental, which is teaching them skills that are practically needed in everyday life. This is the reason hands-on learning is important. Let's check its various aspects in the next sections.
What Is Hands On Learning?
A type of learning method where children learn by doing is termed Hands-On Learning. In this, students listen to their teacher and get engaged with the subject matter to solve a problem. This helps them create something when implemented in all the subject matter. Some examples of implementing this in a class are solving problems in the math class, performing lab experiments in science class, creating working machines or building circuits in a technical class, creating stories, essays and poems during English class, and recreating a historical document in a history class. Such hands-on learning allows the students the freedom to learn through real-life instances instead of just reading the books or listening to teachers.
Impact of Covid-19 on hands-on-learning:
Physical classrooms are equipped with the required tools for facilitating the students to carry out experiments. But pandemics led to shutting downs because of which students had to learn from their homes for safety. Thus, it significantly reduced hands-on -learning. In such a scenario, parents need to develop ways of ensuring this by using resources that can be used to practice the skills taught in virtual classrooms. Even teachers can engage them in virtual tasks by creating a team to boost their soft skills.
Advantages of hands-on-learning:
Let us see the reasons why this type of learning is crucial in the life of every student:
i. Promotes kinesthetic learning:
Kinesthetic learning implies learning by doing. Different students find different ways of learning easier, such as some learn by looking at the visuals, some by listening to the parents or teachers, some by reading and writing. But among all these, hands-on learning is the most engaging way that keeps up the interest of individuals and helps them stay active throughout the learning session. It prevents the chances of passive learning completely. This results in better test scores as well as academic achievements.
ii. It lets students practice the skills:
Theoretical skills can be put to practice through hands-on learning. This polishes the skill and ensures better retention of information. It is evident from the traditional study combined with active learning in the lab classes. This helps the students grasp the concepts in a much better way.
iii. It makes the students relate the theories learned to practical situations in real life:
While learning any subject, students need to understand why it can be beneficial in real life. Therefore they are engaged in creating art, writing a poem, essay, or constructing a project or something realistic where they can explore their creativity. It gives them a sense of achievement and encourages them to think out of the box. Creativity is not simply related to arts and music but diverse subjects such as math, science, and history.
iv. Enhances attentiveness:
Long monotonous hours of lectures can make students lose interest easily. Thus, they pay less attention to learning. In such cases, it is not that they are unable to process the information provided to them. The fact is that they just don't find it interesting enough to focus easily. In such cases, adding some hands-on activities can also spark their interest in the conventional learning methods. This will give them a chance to connect with and enjoy anything they are learning.
v. It keeps the students motivated:
A conventional classroom with theoretical studies just leaves the students with some notes for various chapters. They aim to prepare themselves for the exams and score well, but nothing special about these. But in a hands-on class, students feel more productive at the end of the day because they learn by implementing something they have studied. It makes the learning tangible and keeps the students motivated to learn more instead of getting bored.
vi. Exploring all the five senses and engaging different areas of the brain:
Certain messy plays while interacting with nature helps the children discover new materials. It includes exploring tactile materials such as plants, sand, water, slime, or artificial clay dough.
This triggers them to carry out their experiments, which they don't forget easily. They even learn new words to describe various materials they come across. Various activities like talking, listening and practically getting involved using hands activate multiple areas of the brain. This aids learning just like a multi-sensory play.
Role of parents in encouraging hands-on-learning:
Parents have better control over their children when they are young, so they significantly encourage hands-on learning. They can find the skills that prioritize this form of learning by asking relevant questions during admission. This will need some effort but can be a significant move in challenging the children to learn.
Though hands-on learning is not a new concept, many public schools still find it challenging to implement. This is because of the tight budget and less freedom in designing their curriculum. Hence, the government bodies need to support them with resources to provide complete benefits to the students. Today, just theoretical knowledge will be of little use in real-life scenarios. So, hands-on learning must be implemented to help students grow into better individuals with fine motor skills.