Practical Learning vs Theoretical Learning
Dr. Arun Mittal
Knowledge is considered as power. There are many great personalities who have achieved success because of their vast knowledge. Ranging from scientists to poets and politicians to sports persons, knowledge has always been the major contributor towards the success of everyone.
Before I start discussion on practical and theoretical learning, I would like to ask a question.
What comes first – A dictionary or a word? I have asked this question to establish a relationship between the theoretical and practical knowledge.
Right answer is – “Word”. Words emerge during intellectual dialogues, discussions by poets, politicians and all others who wish to create new words during their conversations. These words are then adopted by the dictionaries leading to the dictionary becoming richer with every new edition. This example clearly states that each and every part of theoretical knowledge comes from practice. In fact, whatever happens in practice, people learn from it and present it in the form of a book (theoretical knowledge).
The schools today focus on both but the percentage of focus on theoretical knowledge is much higher (around 70 to 80%) than focus on practical knowledge (around 20-30%). Our evaluation system is also responsible for this, which focuses more on marks rather than knowledge, and marks can only be obtained by theoretical knowledge.
There are far reaching impacts of the gap between desired practical knowledge and existing practical knowledge of a student, specially in the school age, when a child is full of energy and enthusiasm.
There are subjects that are taught without any practical exposure mainly in the arts and commerce stream (In science stream there are laboratories available in the schools too). A student who is studying accountancy but he has never seen tally or worked on tally or ERP, a statistics students who has never seen a research report or a document wherein the statistical tools have been applied and a political science student who has never listened to the proceedings of parliament will read his/her books only like someone is eating with digesting.
The importance of technical learning through theoretical sessions and lecturers cannot be denied but without practical knowledge, theoretical is not enough. The biggest reason that our students forget everything they have studied in the previous class is the ‘lack of practical learning’.
It is the duty of parents today to fill this gap if the schools and education system is not contributing. Parents must participate with their children while they are studying their subjects so that their learning becomes more fruitful. Not only this, practical learning will also help your child in identifying their area of interest and choose their career.
The irony is that, we want our kids to choose their career first and then they only come to know what this career exactly is. However, they should know the practical aspects and real life things about that career in advance and then select the career.
This is a brief discussion on the importance of practical and theoretical learning. There are endless dimensions to it. However, the role of practical learning, demonstrations and simulations unbeatable in education at all levels.
Dr Arun Mittal is a Motivational
Speaker and Author of celebrated
book I Can… I Will. Contact him