Hands-on training, also known as experiential learning, emphasizes learning by doing. This approach proves highly effective in teaching software applications, procedures, and equipment, enabling instructors to assess students’ mastery of new skills or processes immediately. Additionally, hands-on training offers numerous benefits, such as creating a safe learning environment, fostering self-directed learners, motivating students, increasing engagement, and delivering a strong return on investment (ROI).
- Improved Learning: Experiencing what is being learned enhances the learning process. As explained by learning and development consultant Deb Peterson, hands-on training is akin to learning how to ride a bike. Teaching a child to ride a bike involves getting on the bike, not merely reading about it.
- Safe Learning Environment: Mistakes are a natural part of the learning process. A dedicated virtual training environment, separate from production or development environments, ensures students can learn and experiment without jeopardizing business continuity. Sometimes, a training environment with non-production data may be necessary to enhance security and privacy.
- Self-Directed Learners: Experiential learning requires students to tackle unfamiliar situations and tasks in real-world contexts. To accomplish this, students must navigate their existing knowledge, identify gaps, and acquire new information. This type of learning fosters self-directed, lifelong learners who reflect on prior knowledge, apply it to new situations, and master new skills.
- Motivated Students: Experiential learning motivates students by demonstrating the relevance of their training experiences in real-life scenarios. Opportunities for practice and immediate feedback further enhance motivation among students.
- increased Engagement: Hands-on training actively engages students in the learning process, resulting in improved attention, focus, and critical thinking skills. Integrating hands-on training encourages active participation, requiring students to interact with instructors and collaborate with peers rather than passively listening.
- Strong ROI: Hands-on training surpasses traditional lecture-based approaches and PowerPoint presentations. It not only enhances knowledge but also efficiently transfers skills to students, reducing the need for additional training in the future. According to The Learning Pyramid, active learning methods, such as practicing by doing, lead to higher retention rates than passive methods focused on theory and memorization.
- Employee Success and Retention: The success of an organization hinges on its employees. Engaging and motivating employees, as well as retaining top performers, positively impacts corporate financial results. Research supports that training methods that keep employees engaged and motivated yield significant benefits.
While various training delivery methods exist, hands-on training remains a highly effective approach. Its ability to enhance learning, engagement, and ROI makes it a valuable choice for organizations seeking to empower their employees with practical skills and knowledge.