Hitherto, reading and writing have been the major ways of teaching. So, it is almost the norm for a teacher to use these means and expect the knowledge to stick. However, in the short time I have been in the class I discovered that my students learn better when I introduce hands-on practical. When I studied further, I discovered that there are researches supporting this fact.
Studies have shown that people lose up to 50 percent of new information if it is not put into use within one hour. After 24 hours it rises to 70 percent and as much as 90 percent of the information may be lost if nothing is done after a week. Hence, for learning to stick, we need to do more than reading textbooks and listening to teachers. It helps to ascertain the understanding level of the students to know how much of the information they took in in the first place.
According to studies, when all the senses are involved in learning, it creates different pathways in the brain that make it easier for information to be retained. Irrespective of the course of study, hands-on practical can be added to the curriculum to make learning easier. This may require school collaboration in the end but the teachers can give the students a head-start while waiting for the school to do their path.
There are different hand-on practical techniques that teachers—especially those who are new to the field—can employ to improve the assimilation level of their students. A teacher can combine more than one for an improved result.
There is a popular saying that pictures are worth a thousand words. Research has shown that students are more likely to retain and retrieve information when they are represented in pictures. Visuals transmit information faster and improve overall comprehension. Instead of spending the whole time talking, you can ask your students to represent the concept they just learned with pictures or make a sketch in their notes.
There are studies that also show that teaching a concept to others helps you to learn it yourself. Some students may think they understand a concept but if you ask them to teach you discover they got it all wrong. If you correct a student in the process of teaching, the information tends to stick better.
You often wonder why it is easier to recall what happened in movies that what happened in the previous page of your text? The answer lies in the demonstration. Unlike reading or listening, demonstration breathes life into a concept making it easier to visualize. This is why when learning a new technical skill like cooking, web design, or photography you will look for a tutor or videos that will offer you demonstrations.
If you taught your students how to use a software, encourage them to do a lot of practice on it. Practice makes perfect and improves assimilation.