Subscribe to our free fortnightly newsletter and stay ahead with the latest news in edtech

The importance of hands on learning in education

Alex Dalton, Managing Director of woodworking machinery specialists Daltons Wadkin, takes a look at why Design and Technology are important

Posted by Hannah Vickers | January 13, 2017 | Secondary

By Alex Dalton, Managing Director of woodworking machinery specialists Daltons Wadkin

Why is hands on learning so hugely important? Imagine teaching someone to ride a bicycle. You can try and teach them in a classroom, but to actually learn, they need to go out and actually ride it.

There is the argument that learning from books or academics is the best way to learn, but you can’t ride a bike from reading a book; it doesn’t matter how many books you read about cycling, you are still likely to fall off the first time you try!

So it is clear that in certain situations, hands on learning is vital.

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 that provide more 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 

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. This 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.

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 the subject they probably studied when they were at school, i.e. 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 does so within school curriculum time, not as part of extra-curricular, enhancement and enrichment activities.

We feel 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. It is the act of generating, developing and communicating ideas for products, services, systems and environments. Hugely important in responding to user needs and wants and/or market opportunities. Both digital and traditional design tools may be used.

Addressing needs though this problem-solving, creativity bounded by constraints and combined with hands-on practical manufacture are the fundamental skills of an industrial economy.

Lastly, 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.

Long live Design and Technology!

Subscribe to our free fortnightly newsletter and stay ahead with the latest news in edtech

Related stories

Pupils turn engineers for tech challenge

Philosophy 'essential for all'

Independent schools: It's time to embrace 3D printing

Protecting educational institutions from DDoS Attacks

'IT's her future': Encouraging female talent in tech

Virtual reality: potential pitfalls and how to avoid them

Virtual Worlds teach better lessons

Queen's Uni Belfast opens Computer Science hub

Take the VEX IQ Challenge

The Evolution and Revolution of Online Education.

Market place - view all

Arkivum

Arkivum provides data archiving services to a range of industries ...

Fujitsu

Fujitsu provide information technology solutions for businesses inc...

Nationwide

Award winning online banking: whether it's current accounts, credit...

Prolinx

We help organisations use technology to achieve their long-term goa...

ViewSonic

ViewSonic® Corporation, headquartered in Walnut, California, is...

OKI

OKI is a global B2B printer manufacturer dedicated to creating cost...