Many universities today are seeing the advantages of implementing hands-on learning for those studying in STEM-based programmes, as well as other disciplines.
The benefits of hands-on learning, or practical learning, is particularly beneficial for STEM subjects as they bring complex concepts to life so they can better retain learned information.
According to The Edvocate, “The processes of inquiry, reasoning and collaboration required in STEM learning are similar to any experiential activity; learning activities must be hands-on experiences.
“STEM classes also demand rigor and relevance in a curriculum, and the students who take these classes must learn to think critically as they use science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to solve real world problems through direct learning experiences.”
Students become more engaged and are more likely to remember the information they have learned due to their experience.
Rather than just reading and memorising from a textbook, which can leave many students demotivated and cause them to lose interest, hands-on learning stimulates their senses and enables them to become more connected to their learning.
When they work on real-life projects, students can see the impact of their work, learning important skills along the way.
For example, they learn collaborative and critical thinking skills during hands-on learning activities, which are essential for the workplace.
It prepares them better for life after graduation, equipping them with job-ready skills and the required academic knowledge.
Hands-on learning is, after all, the practical application of academic knowledge. It means students get to visualise, experience and learn by doing.
These four universities are leading the way in providing plenty of hands-on learning in STEM fields, ensuring students graduate job ready with the relevant skills for future success.
ENGINEERING INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY – AUSTRALIA
The Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT) in Australia is one of the only colleges in the world that specialises in engineering.
EIT’s degree and Master’s programmes are accredited by the exacting standards of the Australian government, and recognised by many authorising bodies around the world.
All EIT programmes are designed by an international body of industry experts, ensuring that students graduate with skills that are valued by employers globally.
A unique blended delivery methodology makes use of simulation software in cutting-edge remote laboratories, supported by a faculty made up of both academic experts and experienced engineers.
Class sizes remain small so that students receive hands-on learning and build rapport with both their classmates and lecturers. They are supported by dedicated Learning Support Officers and Course Coordinators for the duration of their studies, giving them a greater chance of success.
Together with its sister company, IDC Technologies, EIT has provided training and education to over 500,000 engineers and technicians throughout the world over the last 30 years.
Delivering world-class engineering degrees with affordable fees, it’s a great choice for international students looking to receive an industry-focused qualification that delivers the job-ready skills needed to commence or progress a career in engineering.
LA TROBE UNIVERSITY – AUSTRALIA
This Australian university offers plenty of hands-on learning experience through industry-relevant courses across a wide range of engineering disciplines for those in the Department of Engineering.
Students learn from industry leaders and have opportunities to participate in industry-led projects, and also undertake a six-month placement in the industry as part of the Work Integrated Learning programme.
The laboratories and state-of-the-art facilities provide students with the ideal space and dynamic working environment for them to develop practical skills, which complement the high standards of teaching and research conducted at the university.
A four-storey steel and glass structure with high-tech teaching spaces and experimental laboratories for STEM students is part of La Trobe University’s recent AU$50 million Bendigo campus redevelopment project.
To provide exposure to the industry, the university also holds networking events to connect students to the industry, such as networking dinners, the engineering and IT showcase, the Annual Open Day and site visits to current and future industry partner companies.
UNITEC – NEW ZEALAND
At this university in New Zealand, engineering programmes at the School of Engineering and Applied Technology are delivered in a hands-on, practical and interactive manner.
Students get plenty of opportunities to get familiar in their respective fields so they graduate job-ready, equipped with the relevant skills and industry knowledge required.
They learn from experienced staff who are experts in their field, and a significant number of work in the industry.
Several of them are also Chartered Professional Engineers, members of Engineering New Zealand, or members of the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors and Licensed Cadastral Surveyors.
As such, the school is able to deliver industry-relevant curricula and best practices, so students receive relevant and up-to-date industry knowledge and are well-prepared for the workforce.
Students also benefit from the university’s close working relationships with industry organisations, major engineering and surveying companies, and electrical and electronics engineering industries.
SINGAPORE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY – SINGAPORE
This Singapore university has a strong reputation for being industry-relevant and delivering practical-based knowledge, equipping students with job-ready skills in STEM fields.
One distinctive feature is the compulsory Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP), which gives students the chance for experiential learning as they integrate theory and practice while developing deep specialist skills in their chosen fields.
The hands-on work that students get to do through IWSP allows them to develop job-ready skills, and the programme has also led to many students receiving full-time employment.
The SkillsFuture Work-Study Degree Programme (WSDP), a joint initiative by the Ministry of Education, also aims to provide students with industry knowledge and career opportunities through industry partnerships with several companies and agencies.
There are also the innovative i-Labs – teaching labs created alongside the curriculum – that are located either at the university or on an industry partner’s premises. These labs are used for students to study and work on real-world industry issues.
These universities are great choices for STEM students looking to enhance their academic experience with hands-on learning and industry links to develop job-ready skills and prepare them for life after graduation.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International
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