If we were to ask you a question that you once studied in high school, can you still answer it? Chances are, you can’t even remember what you learnt back then. When you learn by memorising, you don’t really learn and fully understand the material. And our educational system is very keen on a textbook-and-lecture format. But did you know that hands-on learning is proven to be more effective at helping students understand and remember what they are taught?

What is hands-on learning?

Hands-on learning is a type of education that encourages students to learn by doing. Meaning to say, instead of listening to lectures, students fully engage with the subject. Hands-on learning provides students with the freedom and responsibility to learn through real-life experiences, rather than reading and memorising information. It better engages both sides of their brain—the left hemisphere is for listening and analysing processes while the right hemisphere is for visual and spatial processes. In fact, brain scans show that there is increased activity in sensory and motor-related areas of the brain when thinking about concepts learnt through hands-on learning.

More reasons why hands-on learning is important for children

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1) Accelerates creativity

Creativity can be applied anywhere, not just to subjects like arts and music. And it should be practised regularly because creativity is a muscle that requires regular exercise. One simple way to exercise creativity is to engage in hands-on learning activities. Creativity encourages children to develop new ways of thinking and explore new ideas. Regardless of what subject your child is studying, with accelerated creativity, your child will be able to easily identify solutions to every problem.

2) Increases engagement

As the name suggests, hands-on learning increases student engagement. Children will be encouraged to collaborate with each other and with their teachers during classes. This learning experience will give them an opportunity to boost their confidence, improve their social skills, and build their teamwork skills. This is particularly helpful for them as they grow up and work with more people—they will know how to share ideas and get their message across in different settings.

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3) Develops character

By putting them in charge of their own educational experiences, hands-on learning allows them to develop their character. This method of learning teaches them to stretch lessons beyond school and use them for life-long learning and character development. With a growth mindset, heightened creativity, and incredible collaboration skills, they will be prepared to overcome obstacles and embrace new challenges moving forward.

4) Improves memory

When you mix multiple styles of learning, your brain will form a stronger overall connection and will then be able to store more information. Hands-on learning helps to build relationships between feelings and the thinking process. So, when children link information with emotion, they will be able to learn complex concepts more easily. Not to mention, hands-on learning involves using all of our senses to learn which means there are plenty of information retrieval methods and children are not limited to learning from just a piece of paper.

5) Develops skills to confront real-world problems

As mentioned above, hands-on learning gives children essential skills that they can use in the future. For example, it teaches them to figure out solutions to every problem and collaborate through the learning process. This practice allows them to apply the same concept when faced with real-world problems. The next time they are faced with a challenge, they will know to assess, reflect, and adapt through collaborative problem-solving.

This method of learning can benefit people of all ages, be it for kindergarteners learning how to build legos together or college students going for their first internship. Hands-on or experiential learning increases the effectiveness of education. And now that you know just how beneficial hands-on learning is, you can encourage your child to be more hands-on from an early age.

Play is extremely important for children. Whether you know it or not, children learn a lot just by playing and observing. Therefore, as parents, you must always encourage your child to discover the world and explore their senses through hands-on activities. Let them spend more time playing outdoors, trying new things, and engaging in kinaesthetic exercises. This way, your child will be keen on understanding the world around them through experimentation. And this skill can benefit them for years to come, even when they are full-grown adults.

Realising this, Young Engineers Singapore provides multiple opportunities for our children to engage with each other and explore new learning opportunities. We encourage teamwork, creativity, and problem-solving skills among our kids as we invite them to learn through play. For more information about our enrichment programmes, get in touch with us now or email us at admin@youngengineers.sg.