What Is Learning by Doing And Why Does It Work?

As there are numerous ways for humans to obtain knowledge, the list of teaching strategies continues to grow. As a result, there are a variety of strategies that make use of their specific abilities. Learning by doing is one such technique I’d like to share with you.

This method has been around for a long time, and it’s surprisingly efficient due to the numerous benefits it provides. Also known as experiential learning, I’ll be sharing my understanding of the subject, what it entails, and why it’s such a powerful learning tool with you. 

What Is Learning by Doing?

Learning by doing is based on the simple premise that we can learn more about something by doing it.

Let’s imagine you want to learn to play a musical instrument and you’re curious about how they all sound and mix. In most other methods, you’d be performing the instrument in a studio by yourself.

Learning by doing, on the other hand, provides you with a fundamental understanding of how to play the instrument as well as the opportunity to perform an improvised composition with other musicians on stage.

Another way to think about it is to approach something more actively rather than passively learning about it. The notion is that active participation leads to deeper learning and that making errors is fine as long as you learn from them.

This mindset gave birth to a new name for this method: experiential learning.

Related: 9 Steps to More Effective Self-Regulated Learning

What Are Its Benefits?

Experimental learning has existed for millennia. “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them,” wrote Aristotle.

That style of thinking evolved and altered over time, and was eventually lost once computers were brought into schools. It’s only in the last few years that schools have reintroduced this strategy.

It’s easy to see why teachers support this because it has five major advantages. 

1. It’s More Engaging and More Memorable

The first advantage is that it is more remembered and interesting. You won’t be able to weaken your performance because this involves action on your part.

This is significant because, in the past, you would learn from lectures, books, or articles, and students could easily read—or not read—the text and walk away with little information.

It’s easier to remember things when you’re placed into a scenario where you have to do what you need to learn. Every activity gives unique learning opportunities, and it is here that motivation is developed.

That drive is based on what you’ve learned and experienced. It instills in students the belief that learning is relevant and worthwhile.

Beyond that, this experience allows the opportunity for learners to go through the learning cycle that involves extended effort, mistakes, and reflection, followed by refinement of strategies.

Related: The 10 Best Podcasts for Kids to Enjoy While Learning

2. It Is More Personal

Learning through doing, for the reasons stated above, provides a personal experience. Returning to the effort, mistakes, reflection, and refinement cycle, it is only feasible to complete this cycle through personal emotions—the motivation and realization of knowledge of a certain issue that is aligned with your beliefs and ideals.

This link is strong, and it provides a richer experience than reading from a book or an article like this one. That personal connection is even more significant since it inspires learners to explore and be curious.

You could read up on it or watch a video if you’ve always wanted to bake a cake or cook a distinctive cuisine. You may also get the ingredients and go through it all on your own.

Even if you make mistakes right now, you’ll know what to do the next time you try it out. You’re also more invested in it because it’s the food you prepared with the aim of eating it.

3. It Is Community-Connected

Rather than sitting alone in your home or a library, learning by doing engages the entire world. Because the entire city serves as your classroom, you can take advantage of a variety of resources.

Local assets and partners can be gathered, and local challenges can be linked to bigger global themes.

This emphasizes the personal element that this strategy promotes. You’re a part of a community, and this type of learning allows you to interact and connect with it more—not necessarily with the people who live there, but certainly with the environment. 

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4. It’s More Integrated Into People’s Lives

This type of education is also strongly ingrained in our daily lives. Deep learning happens best when students can apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to questions that are important to them.

Despite the abundance of information available, people continue to ask, “What’s in it for me?” People will be more interested in learning if they believe that what they are learning is relevant to their way of life in some way.

If they can’t connect their information to personal experiences, it’ll be forgotten. As a result, experience learning simplifies the application of information.

5. It Builds Success Skills

The final advantage of learning by doing is that it improves your ability to succeed. Learning by doing motivates you to push yourself out of your comfort zone, try new things, and try things for the first time. You’re bound to make a few mistakes, but this method doesn’t hold it against you.

As a result, learning by doing can help you develop your curiosity for new things as well as your commitment to professional growth and development.

This could also contribute to the development of team management and collaboration skills. These are all critical aspects of personal development as we move forward. 

Related: 8 Ways to Get Ready for Success in Your Twenties

How to Get Started

While all these perks are helpful for you, how are you going to start? Well, there are several different approaches that you can take with this. Here are some of them that come to mind.

1. Low-Stakes Quizzes

Many low-stakes quizzes are one approach to introduce this technique in a classroom context. These quizzes aren’t meant to be used to evaluate one’s performance.

Instead, these tests are designed to get students to interact with the content and develop the information they’ve learned on their own.

This method has been shown to be an effective learning technique in studies.[1]It allows pupils to increase their comprehension and retention while also encouraging the “transfer” of knowledge to different situations.

Related: 6 Scientifically Proven Ways To Learn How To Learn

2. Type of Mental Doing

Another strategy is one devised by Psychologist Rich Mayer. Learning, he claims, is a generative process. [2]

His knowledge and study at the University of California, Santa Barbara, have repeatedly demonstrated that we gain expertise by performing an action, but that the action is founded on what we already know.

Let’s imagine you’re interested in learning more about Stalin, the Soviet tyrant. All you have to do now is connect what you already know—that Stalin was a dictator—to what you want to learn and remember.

Stalin was born in Georgia, slaughtered millions of people, concentrated power in Russia, and helped win World War II. This method works for even the most basic memory tasks, such as o

3. Other Mental Activities

The final method I’ll discuss with you is to take the practical approach—going out there and literally getting your hands filthy. However, how you go about doing so is entirely up to you.

You may try reading an article and then immediately putting it into practice, as you could with this one. Perhaps you might increase your involvement by solving riddles or turning your activity into a game.

For example, if you wanted to learn about animal behavior patterns, you could read about them and then go out and observe animals see if they exhibit the behaviors you read about.

Final Thoughts

Learning by doing stimulates active participation in available information and requires you to work harder to remember it. It’s a useful strategy because it aids in the retention of information.

After all, you’ll be more driven to use that knowledge in the future since you have a stronger personal connection to it. 

With that in mind, I strongly advise you to use what you’ve learned from this post in the actual world. It will only benefit you as you go.


  1. Parkland College: Using Low-Stakes Repeated Testing Can Improve Student Learning: How (Some) Practice Makes Perfect

2. ResearchGate: Learning as a Generative Activity: Eight Learning Strategies that Promote Understanding

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