Various teaching approaches and styles are available in the realm of education that assist in involving learners and effective learning. One of such approaches that have become so popular nowadays is the “hands-on learning style”.

This article discusses the issue of hands-on learning, its advantages, and possible ways of implementation. Afterward, you should be able to familiarize with this powerful teaching method and realize how much influence it has on the learning process.

What is the Hands-On Learning Style?

Hands-on learning (also known as experiential learning or active learning) is an approach to education that focuses on active participation and experiencing the action. Hands-on learning is one approach in which instructors teach their students in a nontraditional manner by inviting them to explore with touching, learning by experimentation and doing. 

Taking learners as the center, this approach provides them with an opportunity to be active in learning through an interesting and exciting way.

Hands-On Learning Style

1. Enhanced Engagement and Motivation
Perhaps the greatest advantage of hands on teaching is that it ensures that students do not remain idle during the learning process. Active participation and involvement of students with materials is an important factor that motivates them to be interested on a topic. Such an enhanced engagement can, therefore, promote a more comprehensive comprehension of the content.

2. Improved Retention and Understanding
This implies that it fosters increased retention since it engages the various sensory organs. Using hands and manipulating objects creates solid neural connections which makes it easier for a student to remember what was taught. 

It also promotes critical thinking and problem solving, thus helping in the comprehension of the issue at hand.

3. Application of Knowledge
Such a type of schooling gives an opportunity to students to apply their knowledge in practice. Students develop practical skills through project work, experiments, and real life situations that are applicable in different careers and everyday life. It involves a hands-on approach that tries to connect theory and practice.

Image alt text:hands-on learning style

Author credit: By Peter van der Sluijs – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

4. Active Participation and Collaboration
Students frequently work in groups in hands-on learning, thereby enhancing collaboration and teamwork. This will enable them to exchange opinions, develop solutions, and learn one another’s experience. 

This collaborative nature, besides promoting interaction, also contributes a lot to the various aspects of learning process.

  1. Increased Confidence and Independence

When students actively engage in hands-on activities and successfully complete tasks, they gain confidence in their abilities. This boost in self-esteem encourages them to take ownership of their learning journey, becoming more independent and self-directed learners.

  1. Customized Learning

Hands-on learning allows educators to tailor their teaching methods to meet individual student needs. It accommodates various learning styles and levels of understanding, ensuring that each student can progress at their own pace and grasp the concepts effectively.

Methods of Implementing Hands-On Learning

Now that we understand the benefits of hands-on learning, let’s explore various methods for implementing this teaching style:

  1. Experiments and Laboratories

Science subjects are well-suited for hands-on learning through experiments and laboratory work. Students can observe, measure, and analyze real-world phenomena, deepening their understanding of scientific principles.

  1. Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning involves students working on extended projects that require research, problem-solving, and creativity. These projects can span various subjects and encourage students to apply their knowledge to real-life situations.

  1. Field Trips

Taking students on field trips to museums, historical sites, or natural reserves provides an opportunity for experiential learning. It allows students to connect classroom concepts with the real world, making learning more tangible.

  1. Simulations and Role-Playing

Simulations and role-playing activities immerse students in scenarios that require decision-making and problem-solving. This method is especially effective in subjects like history, sociology, and business.

  1. Hands-On Activities

Simple hands-on activities, such as building models, conducting surveys, or creating art projects, can be incorporated into various subjects to make learning more interactive and engaging.

  1. Interactive Technology

Utilizing educational interactive technology, such as educational apps, virtual reality, and simulations, can bring hands-on learning to the digital realm. These tools can make complex concepts more accessible and enjoyable.

  1. Outdoor Education

Outdoor education involves taking students outside the classrooms to learn about nature, environmental science, and sustainability. It offers a distinct interactive experience in a natural environment.

8. Problem-Based Learning
Problem-based learning is a learner-centered approach where learners are given problems situated in real world scenarios. The technique involves using the brain in order to solve problems thus making it useful for promoting critical thinking and application of knowledge.

9. Collaborative Group Projects
Group projects in which children help their peers find solutions to problems or generate presentations help build teamwork and collaborative learning. They can also teach each other from their strong points and perspectives.

10. Role of Educators
Hands on learning can only be achieved through educators. It is their responsibility to provide a nurturing situation, support discussions towards linking the experiences to the academic concepts, and offer help when necessitated.


The hands-on learning style has been found to be a practical method of education. Its effectiveness lies in engaging the students in the process of learning, which leads to higher retention rate and ease to apply such knowledge in practice. 

There are numerous ways of adopting hands-on learning and it can be inserted in different disciplines and grades of education. Hands-on learning continues to be a potent tool in enabling students to embrace life-long learning as we embark on new pedagogical initiatives.