Value of Practical Hands-On Education vs. Theory

What works in theory does not always work in practice. That is why most employers prefer to hire a graduate who has some practical hands-on education over those who have only learned through theory.

Hands-on education provides real life experience in which students are required to put theory to the test. Without hands-on experience employers are taking a chance that a graduate will in fact be able to perform their expected duties professionally and knowledgeably.

Ability to Retain Information
A hands-on education provides an easier way of learning that is more conducive to information retention. Repetitive actions will allow students to remember how to do things better than those who simply memorize theories by rote. A common training practice at many businesses is:

  • Watch me do one
  • Do one with me
  • Do one yourself

This allows students to witness how to do things, have someone by their side while they try it with step by step instructions and then try it on their own without assistance.

The Proper Equipment
When a student is looking at a training manual or studying watching videos and reading they are not experiencing the “feel” of the equipment they must use. For example, using a drill looks very simply, but when one has one in their hands it is far more difficult to maneuver than it looks. Any type of equipment a student may be required to use requires a hands-on education that will allow them to experience the feel from pushing the start button to adjusting settings and applying the equipment to the task at hand.

Software in Use
People often try a free download before they decide to buy the software. That is because they can experience the software and apply it to real projects and applications in their day to day dealings. When students are provided a real time learning experience in which they must apply their knowledge to perform certain duties, they will be able to demonstrate their ability to use software properly and effectively.

Critical Thinking
Even the most well thought out lessons with role playing and practice can never simulate a true experience. Hands-on education provides the student the opportunity to learn critical thinking in order to problem solve and overcome issues as they arise.

Remember the old saying: give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach a man to fish he eats for life.