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Practical Learning – The Best Way Forward

Summary:

  • What is practical education?
  • Importance of practical learning in today’s education system
  • Benefits and advantages of practical learning

Practical education is more of a hands-on learning experience and eliminates the total dependence on books and theory.

Practical learning can be interchangeably used to mean experiential learning. It refers “learning through doing.” Though theoretical knowledge is also necessary, practical knowledge has many advantages.

In this article we discuss the importance of practical learning and its various advantages.

Over the past few years, the education system has undergone a massive metamorphosis. Education today has become more inclusive.

The international and Indian education system has become broad and comprehensive. For years together, educationists have mooted over the pros and cons of theory based learning and have now come up with an ideal system that involves both practical as well as theoretical learning.

Let’s Look at What the Two Systems of Learning Entail

1. Theoretical System of Education

In this theoretical system of education, learning is more bookish. Students are required to read textbooks and other reference material throughout their academic years.

Though this system of education has been in practice for centuries together, the need for change was felt. This system was proving a failure when it came to filling the industrial gaps.

2. Practical System of Education

Practical system of education as the name suggests is more experience based. Students are trained to work on site.

This system of learning was developed after realising that graduating students were unable to handle the practicalities of the real industry.

As industries began to develop, the requirements of the industries began to evolve. Industries were now looking for skilled personnel. Practical training became so important, that it soon became a part of the education system.

Many times, practical learning is the only way to learn something. For example, learning to swim or drive a car cannot be learned within the four walls of a classroom. Practical training is the only way to learn these skills.

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The Importance of Practical Training to Students

1. Retains Information for A Longer Period of Time

Intelligent personOne of the reasons why practical learning is important is because it retains information for a longer period of time.

As a student you might have experienced this yourself. While learning for an examination, you cram up all the theory and forget it as soon as your examination is over.

However practical learning of the same theory will be something that will remain in your knowledge for a very long time.

2.Active Learning

The importance of practical learning can be seen in the fact that practical learning is more active than theoretical based learning which is more passive in nature.

For example, to understand a lesson in English, rather than listening to the teacher narrating the story, students must be encouraged to enact the story.

This way students can visualise the narration. This has a greater impact on the knowledge of students than a monotonous narration.

3. Engaging

Practical or experiential learning is a very engaging mode of learning. Students are kept occupied with activities. When students are engaged in some form of activity, it seldom gives rise to boredom.

4. Developing Fine Motor Skills

In early education, practical learning is one of the best ways to promote and develop fine motor skills.

It is the coordination of small muscles in movement with the eyes, usually involving the synchronisation of hands and fingers.

The complex levels of manual dexterity that humans exhibit can be attributed to and demonstrated in tasks controlled by the nervous system.

Fine motor skills aid in the growth of intelligence and develop continuously throughout the stages of human development.

5. Eliminates the Process of Mugging

One of the advantages of practical learning is that it eliminates the disadvantage of mugging or by hearting in theoretical learning.

Mugging concepts is a very short lived process. Students tend to remember concepts only for the purpose of scoring good grades.

However, the idea behind practical learning is that students must retain the concepts beyond examinations.

Experiential learning is quick and easy to grasp unlike theory which may take hours to learn.

6. Encourages Self Learning

Experiential learning allows students to explore. It gives an opportunity to students to understand and follow instructions.

In theoretical learning students wait for teachers to explain the subject, but in experiential learning, students are encouraged to read, understand and work on experiments.

It also allows students to rework on an experiment if the desired results are not achieved. Self learning is one of the best benefits of practical learning.

7. More Interactive Sessions

Interaction between people

Practical learning is more interactive. In a theory based classroom, the teacher teaches and the students are required to listen.

Whereas in a practical environment, students are more likely to work in teams and interact with friends and peers during the course of the experiment. Practical education encourages team building activities amongst students.

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8. Industry Ready

Another reason why practical learning is important is that it gives students the opportunity to feel and work with equipment.

It is like a training ground for the real industry. In such a competitive world, industries are now looking for well experienced and skilled staff.

The more students acquaint themselves with practical learning, the better the chances of being industry ready.

9. Practice Makes Man Perfect

To take a simple example of learning to ride a bicycle, you can not perfect yourself on the first day of learning to ride a bicycle.

It requires days or even weeks of practical training before you can perfect your balance. Practical learning gives students this opportunity to perfect themselves each time.

10. Inter Relation with Theory

Though practical education is important, theory can not be ignored. However, theory based education is made easier with the help of experiential learning.

Understanding the theory of a particular concept can be enriched with practical examples and hands-on experiences.

For example learning the working of a light bulb can be learned in theory and enhanced by a practical demonstration of the same.

The importance of practical training to students helps students to understand the theory better.

11. Career Planner

woman career growthAnother benefit of practical learning is that it gives you an insight into your prospective careers.

If you are unaware of what is in store for you in future, practical learning can give you a small peek into the future. Experiential learning lets you experience your career right at the college or school level.

12. Helps You Envision Real Life Situations

Practical learning experiences allow you to confront real life situations that you may encounter in the future. For example, learning the pythagorean theorem may seem futile in your school days.

However, the theory has value when you start your career as an architect or an engineer. The theory is used to calculate altitude and other heights of structures.

This is where the pythagorean theory  is put to practical use. The importance of practical learning can be seen when you face real life situations that use the concepts you have learned.

Simulation Based Learning and Practical Learning

Simulation based learning is almost like the real thing. Have you seen a simulator? Even if you have not seen one in real life, you might have noticed in movies.

Especially in movies about space where astronauts are trained in simulators before being sent on voyages in space.

These simulators give you a real life experience of what you might encounter when you face the real thing. Simulators are also used for pilot training.

Simulation based learning is another version of practical learning. The idea behind simulation based and practical based learning is to give a hands-on experience to the learner.

Conclusion

True education is a perfect blend of practical learning with theory based concepts. Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.

Learning is more effective when it is active rather than passive. It is said that only practical work and experience can lead the young to maturity.

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