8 Tips to Learning By Doing


Learning by doing is a powerful way to adapt and develop new skills and abilities. By taking a hands-on approach to experiential learning, you are able to learn how to adapt based on your learning environment. John Dewey, an American philosopher who espoused the concept of learning by doing, said this in his book Democracy and Education:

Why is it that, in spite of the fact that teaching by pouring in, learning by passive absorption, are universally condemned, that they are still so entrenched in practice? That education is not an affair of "telling" and being told, but an active constructive process is a principle almost as generally violated in practice as conceded in theory. Is not this deplorable situation due to the fact that the doctrine is itself merely told? But its enactment in practice requires that the school environment be equipped with agencies for doing ... to an extent rarely attained.

It's unfortunate that most learnings in schools happen through passive consumption. the standard model used at school is a teacher lecturing to you about a certain topic. There is no curiosity associated with your learning. You are simply told to follow the curriculum. However, when you think about how learning occurs in real life, you naturally learn by trying it out. You are driven by a curiosity to learn. In fact, active learning becomes critical for adapting to new situations.

4 Different Types of Learning

According to the popular VARK model, there are four primary learning models:

  • Visual
  • Auditory
  • Reading/Writing
  • Kinesthetic (hands-on, experiential learning)

In this article, we will focus primarily on kinesthetic, or hands-on learning. We will provide tips to capitalize on the upside of kinesthetic learning.

8 Tips For Learning By Doing

Here are some of the best tips to engage in active learning. By applying these guidelines, you'll find your groove and change the way you learn. We must see ourselves as life-long students. It's important now more than ever that we start transforming schools to enable students for project-based learning. This is the only way to be ready for what life has in store.

1. Start Experimenting

Experimentation is an important part of the learning process. Students learn better when they are given opportunities to try new things. By allowing students to try their hands at things outside of their comfort zone, it gives them a chance to see what they enjoy doing. Enable students to take active engagement in new tasks with minimal guidance. Allow them the opportunity to fail safely. This will breed confidence when they enter new situations, and they will be more adaptable to prosper.

2. Use Physical Movement

When you apply the kinesthetic teaching method, it's important to actually perform the physical movements. Through repetition, the movement becomes second-nature. When you see basketball players shooting thousands of shots in practice, it prepares them for the in-game moments when they need to perform. It's important to actually DO the task when you are learning by doing. Start moving now!

3. Take Active Participation

When there is an opportunity to learn, participate in it. Oftentimes, people sideline themselves because they don't want to embarrass themselves. Learn to be humble, and learn to take part. Active participants will outlearn passive observers 365 days of the year.

4. Go Out

Learning by doing is simulating real-life, so sometimes the best lessons are learned outside the classroom. If you have an interest in farming, go to a farm and learn about the different processes that keep the farm going. If you like airplanes, find opportunities to work with or on airplanes. The best lessons are always in the real-life scenarios.

5. Build With Your Hands

This tip is metaphorical, but learning by doing often requires rolling up your sleeves and doing the hard work. When you are able to build with your hands, you will see the steps involved and how it is done. Whenever possible, try doing something by hand first so you can fully understand and appreciate the process.

6. Track Results

When you are learning through doing, keep a journal of your results. This is an important step because you want to see how your actions correlate with the end result. By actively keeping track, you know which knobs and levers to pull to achieve certain outcomes. The journal can serve as a guide for the future. Notice how muscular people at the gym keep a workout diary. They do this because it helps them understand what they are doing and what it accomplishes. Try tracking your results and see how that changes your outcomes.

7. Try Digital Educational Content

Online courses have become a great method of teaching and learning. Think of it like a flight simulator, you get to try doing things before getting into the pilot's seat. There is a plethora of great digital education you can learn from now. Teaching and learning can happen in front of your computer, and you are given learning communities that are actively engaged and wanting to improve. There are courses designed around problem-based learning, inquiry-based learning, and much more. With experiential educators, the courses challenge the student to learn through the application of the principles taught in the course and rewards student achievement. Use a digital course to provide the action guide to learn by doing.

8. Learn to Be Adaptable

Research in boys' education has established the power of taking learning into real-world settings. The four stages of experiential learning are: feeling, watching, thinking, doing. When you are in the first stage of learning by feeling, the student is introduced to new information for the first time. This stage is important in giving the students time to feel and adapt to the new settings. By providing concrete examples of starting anew, it eliminates the fear of trying something for the first time. With this newfound confidence, you can learn to adapt to almost any new situation seamlessly.

Final Words

Learning by doing outperforms passive learning every day. When you are willing to get your hands dirty and take on new challenges, the rewards lay on the other side. Be someone who is willing to experiment and participate in what life has to offer. Understand that learning doesn't always happen in the classroom and that real-life provides the best learning experiences. You are capable of more than you know. You can do anything if you are willing to try.