University Tips Blog
Image of a student during a creative workshop
A headshot image of the author, Florence Newsome

by Florence Newsome

Student Recruitment Officer at Plymouth College of Art

posted on 17 Feb '22

A school and college guide to the benefits of participating in practical workshops

Practical workshops can take on many different forms and will normally cover a specific subject or skillset taught through a hands-on approach. These workshops can vary in length from one hour to a week-long, and may consist of exercises, activities and experimental work to encourage participants to work through a range of skills and objectives led by a facilitator.

Introduce your students to a hands-on learning environment

Hands-on learning is a way of learning by doing, where experiential learning takes place and can be effective for specific types of learners, where a more practical environment will enable them to feel more comfortable and relaxed. This approach can be a more engaging way to learn and can help with problem-solving, critical thinking and concentration.

By taking part in active participation, students can be introduced to new concepts and methods through visual demonstrations and experimentation. This allows students to become more familiar with subject-specific techniques while promoting a new way of learning.

A hands-on learning environment will also allow for participants to learn in a safe space where students can explore ideas with the additional help of a facilitator who will be available to assist. It can also provide a platform for students to thrive within a creative environment and have fun participating in a new way of learning. This can lead to building upon their new skills after the workshop, taking what they have learned, and applying them to their GCSE or A-Levels studies.

Knowledge from a professional

In-person workshops are also easier to follow and understand when delivered face-to-face.They are normally delivered by experienced individuals who are specialists within their field. This allows students to learn, start conversations and ask questions!

This expertise can bring additional benefits for personal statements and interview stages if students apply for further or higher education. This can enable them to talk about their experiences from the workshops and how this has helped them progress within new skills and areas of interest.

Image of a paint brush during a creative workshop

Building connections between student and subject

Subject-specific workshops can create a connection between a subject and student. Individuals can immerse themselves in a subject and begin trial-and-error processes which can lead to them understanding the subject in more depth. Practical workshops deliver insights into a diverse range of disciplines and interest areas, allowing students to explore different areas that can then lead to their future career and education plans.

Develop creativity and critical thinking skills

Practical workshops are often open-ended meaning that the final outcome is subject to the individual’s interpretation of the brief. Students also have to problem solve and come up with ideas that can help with their ability to think critically.

Since Covid-19, we have seen a shift in practical workshops being adapted to be delivered online, with students benefiting from the do-it-yourself practical element of self-directed learning. Practical workshops will always be the preferred method of teaching, however the challenge of a global pandemic has shown how approaching problems with creative solutions can still create effective learning outcomes.

Finally, have fun! Hands-on learning is about exploration and creativity where experiences will allow for new ways of thinking and for new ideas to take place.

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