The importance of hands-on learning in education
With increased diversity in the jobs market, the education system needs to step beyond the classroom say woodworking machinery experts, Daltons Wadkin
Posted by Julian Owen | February 01, 2018 | People, policy, politics, money
hands-on-learning, daltons-wadkin, education, skills-shortage, innovation

Why is hands-on learning important?

The best example comes from attempting to teach someone to ride a bicycle. You can try and teach them in a classroom, but to actually learn they should go out and actually ride it.

No matter the number of books you read about cycling, you are still likely to fall off the first time you try. Clearly, in certain situations, hands-on learning is vital.

Hands-on learning in education

It is often hard to properly understand something you have never experienced. This is why hands-on learning is so important in education - there are now more vocational courses providing work-based experiences than ever before.

Hands-on learning allows students to directly take on board and understand what is happening, or how to do something. This is a particularly successful way to teach kinaesthetic learners, who learn best by example.

However, classes such as art, music, woodworking and mechanics are few and far between these days, which is a shame. These types of classes provide important avenues for both education and career success, not to mention they motivate students who love hands-on activities to remain interested in coming to school and learning. They also teach practical problem solving, and introduce students to highly skilled trades.

'It is vital to nurture creativity and innovation through design, and by exploring the world in which we all live and work.'

Subjects such as Design and Technology (D&T) incorporate many aspects of hands-on learning, and give children the opportunity to develop skills, knowledge and understanding of designing and making functional products.

D&T is often a misunderstood and misrepresented subject. For many people, including employers and parents, it is still perceived as a subject they studied when they were at school, e.g. woodwork or metalwork. But it is vital that pupils develop an understanding of aesthetics and its role in the design of everyday items and architecture, as well as developing communication skills through designing and group work.

In reality, it helps to put the T and E into STEM, and within school curriculum time, not as part of extra-curricular activities.

Preparing your students for the working world

It is vital to nurture creativity and innovation through design, and by exploring the world in which we all live and work.

The design process is central to project work and as a method of problem solving. Addressing needs through problem-solving – creativity bounded by constraints, combined with hands-on practical manufacture, are fundamental skills of an industrial economy.

There is a huge shortage in this country of people to fill jobs in the highly skilled trades. There are many high-paying jobs for auto mechanics, certified welders for the oil industry, electricians, and so on. These are jobs that are intellectually challenging, and offer great job security.

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