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Introduction to Hands-on Activities. By David Agnew Arkansas State University. Objectives. Explain why Hands-on Activities are highly encouraged Describe the nature of a Hands-on Activity. Describe the Differences in VO and CO Hands-on Activities. Many Names: One Concept.

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introduction to hands on activities

Introduction to Hands-on Activities


David Agnew

Arkansas State University

  • Explain why Hands-on Activities are highly encouraged
  • Describe the nature of a Hands-on Activity.
  • Describe the Differences in VO and CO Hands-on Activities.
many names one concept

Many Names: One Concept

Hands-On ActivitiesActivity Based LearningExperiential LearningLearning by Doing



  • Preparation for successful working careers shall be a key objective of all education
  • Every teacher in every course will emphasize the contribution that subject matter can make to a successful career.
  • “Hands-on" occupationally oriented experiences will be utilized as a method of teaching and motivating and learning of abstract academic content.
what is activity based learning
What is Activity Based Learning?
  • Activity Based Learning - learning where student physically and mentally explore subject by simulation of the work environment, manipulation of tools and materials associated with the world of work, or performance of a real work task.
what is a hands on activity
What is a hands-on activity?
  • Where students participate individually or in groups, where learning by doing takes place
underlying assumption
Underlying Assumption
  • Doing an activity associated with a career area will be more meaningful and insightful than talking or reading about it in class.
why is hands on so important
Why is Hands-on So Important?
  • Has a greater impact on learning and retention.
  • Affects the emotions, feels and attitudes more that “Book Learning”.
  • John Dewey said “All genuine learning comes through experience”
take about 3 minutes and list as many methods or techniques as you can
Take about 3 minutes and list as many methods (or techniques) as you can?

1 minute left

15 seconds left


how to teach
How to Teach!
  • How to teach is dependent on several factors, one of which is “What” is being taught.
  • How to teach – Usually think of Methods or Techniques, media, visual aids, etc.
  • Hands-on is just one of many methods, however is it a methods or is it more closely connected to a principle than a method/technique?
common methods
Common Methods
  • Presentation
  • Teacher lead discussion
  • Supervised study
  • Job Instruction
  • Cooperative learning
difference in a methods and a technique
Difference in a Methods and a Technique?
  • Method broader than technique
  • Technique is sub-category of Method
  • Method is more like a concept
  • Technique is more closely related to how you implement the concept.
hands on activities is related to which method s
Hands-On Activities is Related to Which Method(s)
  • Job Instruction
  • Supervised Study or Project
  • But you may also use presentation and others in some way associated with the activity.
other methods or techniques
Other Methods or Techniques
  • Panel discussion
  • Fieldtrip
  • Guest Speaker
  • Demonstration
principles of learning
Principles of Learning
  • What are principles of learning?
  • How does a principle differ from a law?
  • Which of the two questions from the previous slide does it relate? (How? What)?
  • Does it ever relate to the other question?
  • How do principles of learning relate to the selection of a method?
review of learning principles
Review of Learning Principles
  • When the subject matter to be learned possesses *meaning, organization, and structure* that is clear to students, learning proceeds more rapidly and is retained longer.
  • *Readiness* is a prerequisite for learning. Subject matter and learning experiences must be provided that begin where the learner is.
  • Students must be *motivated* to learn. Learning activities should be provided that take into account the wants, needs interests, and aspirations of students.
learning principles continued
Learning Principles, Continued...
  • Students are motivated through their *involvement* in setting the goals and planning learning activities.
  • *Success* is a strong motivating force.
  • Students are motivated when they attempt tasks that fall in a range of *challenge* such that success is perceived to be possible but certain.
  • When students have a knowledge of their learning progress, performance will be superior to what it would have been without such knowledge (*feedback*)
learning principles continued1
Learning Principles, Continued...
  • Behaviors that are reinforced (*rewarded*) are more likely to be learned.
  • To be effective, reward (reinforcement) must follow as *immediate* as possible the desired behavior and be clearly connected with that behavior by the student.
  • *Directed learning* is more effective than non-directed learning.
  • To maximize learning, students should *inquire into* rather than be instructed in the subject matter. Problem oriented approaches to teaching improve learning.
  • Students learn what they practice. (repetition)
learning principles continued2
Learning Principles, Continued...
  • *Surprised practice* that is most effective occurs in a functional educational experience.
  • Students learn by doing.
how do we learn how much do we retain
How do we learn?How much do we retain?
  • Dale’s Cone of Experience
summary of why we do hands on activities
Summary of Why we Do Hands-on Activities
  • Consistent with Principles of Learning and established theories of instruction.
  • Increased retention of information
  • Cuts across all three domains of learning, pyschomotor, and affective as well as cognitive.
  • Better understanding of tasks related to that a career.
vocational vs c o hands on activity
Vocational Vs. C.O. Hands-on Activity
  • What are the difference in the vocational type hands-on activity and the career orientation hands-on activity?
  • The goals of the activities are different.
type of instruction voc co

preparation to go and do a job for pay with the expected skill level.


develop awareness and understanding of the nature of the work that is done.

Type of InstructionVOC CO
end purpose voc co
Perform a competency

Ready for a job

To give insight

To create interest

Explore career field

End PurposeVOC CO
sequence in flow voc co
Sequence or placement of activity within unit of instruction is important

Not necessary to start and stop in certain place.

Sequence in FlowVOC CO
duration length of time voc co

Several hours to months


Usually done within a 50-55 minutes

Sometimes only take 10-15 minutes

Rarely take more than one period.

Duration / Length of TimeVOC CO
level of proficiency voc co
Very high standard

Identified and Documented competencies

Low level

Not really graded on outcome as much as effort to do the activity.

Level of ProficiencyVOC CO

Five Steps in theExperiential Learning Model

  • 1. Experience
    • Do the activity
  • 2. Share
    • Reactions to activity, discuss the observations with others
  • 3. Process
    • Reflect and analyze from your personal prospective
  • 4. Generalization
    • Connect lesson learned to life
  • 5. Apply
    • transfer what was learned to similar situations

Experiential Learning Model









Typical Flow of a Hands-on Activity

  • After a lesson, with objective(s) introducing the topic give an overview of what is going to be done.
  • Give a demonstration if needed --Walk through it step by step.
  • Distribute materials.
  • Conduct the activity
  • Debrief , review what was learned

Typical Sequence in a Hands-on Activities



Duration of Hands-on Activity

Distribute Resources


Conduct the Activity

Review DebriefClosure



Review, Debrief, Closure

  • Depends on the activity, but it usually consist of questions such as:
    • What did you think?
    • What did you like about this activity?
    • How did it go?
    • What skills would you need to do this as a career?
    • Etc…
  • Some activities come with their own set of follow-up questions.
  • Assess student ability or success at the activity.
  • Key Point: Always be positive about the activity. We are all not alike.
  • Note: We did not say evaluate or test. Why?
in review
In Review
  • What are some terms similar to Hands-on?
  • Why is Hands-on so important?
  • How do the hands-on activities in Co differ from those in Vo Ed.

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