IMPORTANT! All you must know about Practical Knowledge

Explore through all you must know about Practical Knowledge and how it is being applied to life’s daily activities.

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Can you imagine someone teaching you to swim or drive a vehicle, within four walls of a classroom?

That isn’t practical enough. You have to get into the water to learn swimming and you have to be out on the road to learn driving.

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Theoretical knowledge of skill-based subjects needs to be supported by practice. Subjects like teaching and engineering are skill-based. In these subjects, practical knowledge is more important than theoretical knowledge.

Practical work includes experiments in laboratories, study tours, projects, assignments, etc. the advantages of practical work are unmatched. Getting theoretical knowledge has no value until students can apply it for practical purposes.

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When you do something with your own hands you remember better.

Knowledge can be defined as familiarity with something, which can include some facts, information about a particular topic or subject, descriptions of experiment or study, or skills acquired through experience or education. Knowledge can be of two types:

  • Theoretical knowledge
  • Practical knowledge

What is Practical Knowledge?

The concept of practical knowledge has, as far as we know, never been studied in the context of HEE. Following de Kleijn et al. (2015) who leaned on Verloop, van Driel, and Meijer (2001) practical knowledge is here defined as ‘an overarching, inclusive concept, summarizing a large variety of cognitions, from conscious and well-balanced opinions to unconscious and unreflected intuitions’.

Zanting, Verloop, and Vermont (2001) considered practical knowledge as an amalgam of not only different kinds of knowledge such as procedural, declarative, and conditional knowledge but also norms, values, and beliefs.

Practical knowledge is a multi-faceted concept that encompasses diverse characteristics (Meijer, Verloop, and Beijaard 1999).

It can be seen as a personal, contextual, experience-based, tacit, and content-related guide to action.

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As practical knowledge guides action, academic teachers’ practical knowledge is a strong mediator of teacher behaviour.

Practical knowledge is the knowledge that is acquired by day-to-day hands-on experiences.

In other words, practical knowledge is gained through doing things; it is very much based on real-life endeavors and tasks.

On the other hand, theoretical knowledge teaches the reasoning, techniques, and theory of knowledge.

While practical knowledge is gained by doing things, theoretical knowledge is gained, for example, by reading a manual.

Practical or informal knowledge manifests itself as skills or ‘‘knowing-how’’. Practical knowledge is very important to understand how things work.

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As it occurs and develops in those concrete situations where it is learned, it is contextual and social and helps you acquire the specific techniques that become the tools of your trade.

Practical knowledge leads to a much deeper understanding of a concept through the act of doing and personal experience.

Practical knowledge helps you acquire the specific techniques that become the tools of your trade.

It sits much closer to your actual day-to-day work. There are some things you can only learn through doing and experiencing.

Where theory is often taught in the ideal of a vacuum, the practical is learned through the reality of life.

Practical knowledge can often lead to a deeper understanding of a concept through the act of doing and personal experience.

Both of the above are important. You won’t survive on any career website unless you can bring results and to do that you need practical knowledge. There’s no avoiding it.

At the same time learning how to solve a specific problem only teaches you how to solve that same problem again.

Practice can only take you so far. Theory helps you apply what you learned solving one problem to different problems.

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Is Practical knowledge the same with Theoretical knowledge?     

Practical knowledge and theoretical knowledge are two completely distinct approaches to knowledge.

While theoretical knowledge may guarantee that you understand the fundamental concepts and have know-how about how something works and its mechanism, it will only get you so far, as, without practice, one is not able to perform the activity as well as he could.

Practical knowledge guarantees that you can do something instead of simply knowing how to do it below is an example that distinguishes practical knowledge from theoretical knowledge.

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Theoretical knowledge: (know THAT)

  • I know THAT I can bake a cake
  • I know THAT to ride a bike I must pedal and have a good balance
  • I know THAT to ride a horse, I must have strong legs and hold on tight.

Practical knowledge: (know HOW)

  • I know HOW to ride a bike    
  • I know HOW to play soccer
  • I know HOW to ride horses

As discussed earlier, when it comes to knowledge there are different kinds of knowledge and different ways of acquiring each kind.

On one side is theory and on the other side is the practical application of theory. We cannot sideline one form or the other.

Both types of knowledge are important and both make you better at whatever you do.

Whether it is theoretical or practical knowledge, both are important. Both works hand in hand with each other and even if we decide to compromise on one form, there is a great amount of risk involved when related to your career.

Those who want to advance the furthest in life have to acquire knowledge at both ends of the spectrum and acquire it in a variety of ways. Neglecting one can also prove to be a great loss.

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Theoretical Knowledge

Theoretical knowledge is as important as the practical one. Without having the proper theoretical knowledge, practical knowledge may sometimes prove to be dangerous. As they say, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Theoretical knowledge and learning are necessary parts of expert knowledge.

Formal learning occurs normally in a prescribed learning framework and in an organized learning event in the presence of a tutor, who himself must possess clarity of facts.

For this reason, theoretical knowledge is usually gained by theoretical studies.

The theory generally teaches us ‘why’. It helps you understand why one technique works while the other fails.

Theoretical knowledge generally serves to focus on giving complete knowledge that builds the context and helps you set a strategy for dealing with the practical application.

Theoretical knowledge can often lead to a deeper understanding of a concept through seeing it in the context of a greater whole and understanding the why behind it, but still practical gives out the much wider review of the facts.

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Practical Knowledge

Practical knowledge is found to be of much use in our actual day-to-day work.

There are a lot of things you can only learn through doing and experiencing; no matter how hard you try to learn that through theoretical means.

For example, if you try to learn how to drive a car by theoretical means, you will probably spend your whole life learning and still won’t be able to drive without proper practical training, hence practical is the must.

Where theory is often taught in the idea of a vacuum, the practical is learned through the reality of life.

You won’t survive in any career unless you can bring results and to do that you need practical knowledge.

There’s no avoiding to any one of these. At the same time learning how to solve a specific problem only teaches you how to solve that same problem again. Practice can only take you so far.

Theory helps you apply what you learned solving one problem to different problems. And practical is the application of theoretical basics in real.

The basic difference between theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge is that theory teaches you through the experience of others, on the other hand in practice you tend to learn with your own experience with the particular task

What are the Benefits of Practical Knowledge?                       

  • Practical work promotes experiential learning.
  • encourages self-learning.
  • Practical work familiarizes students with tools and equipment that they will be required to use.
  • Practice leads to perfection.
  • One cannot become an expert overnight; the greater the practice, the greater the expertise.
  • Practical work is a good change from the monotonous lecture method.
  • Students are required to participate actively in practical activities.
  • The involvement of students is more practical work.
  • Practical work complements the theory.
  • Practical assignments are often carried out in groups. Group work helps to inculcate social values and values like sharing, cooperation, team spirit, compassion, etc.
  • Practical work makes students independent and increases their confidence.
  • Students who complete engineering education often find that when they start working, they are at a loss despite getting very good marks in the examination. If the engineering colleges in Pune integrates theory with practice, students are better prepared for jobs. Practical knowledge in advance boosts their confidence.

Hence, there are several benefits of practical work. At the same time, it must be remembered that theoretical knowledge is also important. Practical work is the application of theory.

Theory creates a strong base for practical work. One must be able to achieve a balance between theory and practice for the best results. Theory and practice are two sides of the same coin.   

 How do I gain practical knowledge?

Practical Knowledge is the key factor that differentiates between Crammers, who mugs up the answers, and a good student who deeply understand the concepts.

There are many ways to widen your boundaries of practical knowledge, especially in this new era of modernization and digitization.

1. Almost all the concept, regarding any branches of engineering, can be easily be found on YouTube with live examples and demonstrations.

3D modeling and simulation software has made it much simpler to understand and grasp the underlying fundamentals.

2. Lab session (Workshops) in colleges is a wonderful place to understand and clear all doubts regarding practical examples and its real-world utilization. I used to love my Fluid Mechanics (FM) labs.

3. Apply of internship in some leading companies in our field of work, during the 15 – 20 days’ vacation after each semester.

4. Try to get a part-time job after your college hours in the same field. For instance, if you are pursuing mechanical engineering try to get some job in automobile garages or workshops.

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It will help to gain some practical knowledge with some extra cash for your daily expenses.

Initially, it will harder, as your friends will make fun of you, you would have to control your psychological feelings, but in the long run, they will surely regret it.

5. Project: Try to build one by oneself rather than directly purchasing it from shops. It will help you during viva also help to gain practical knowledge

Can one gain practical knowledge with online courses?

It’s quite simple, learning online does not mean you get hands-on knowledge most especially when it comes to Practical Knowledge, if you want to gain practical knowledge via online you should be ready to learn and implement at the same time (do practical)

On the other hand, there’s one more theory of understanding the definition of practical knowledge.

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Practical knowledge in true sense is “when you go through the learning by the means of feeling it, solving it, and repeating it”

How do I improve practical knowledge?

The only way to enhance practical knowledge is to experience & be open to the experience. It’s a meaningful question that you had asked.

Often people listen to theory and arrive at conclusions with their perception, conclusion means the end.

When you arrive at the end then there is nothing more for you to explore, you are stuck with limited data and you will only be working with what you have, within limitations there is no scope of enhancement.

This is the worst thing that one can do to self, by applying their own self perceived restrictions/conclusions.

Coming to the enhancement of knowledge, here we are talking about that which is limitless.

There is no end to it, when there is no end it becomes your choice how far you wish to explore or experience it.

To make it a reality only fewer simple practices need to be adapted as your way of life. Below are the points which you can look at.

1. Accept what’s known as known and what’s not known as not known, it will help you seek what’s yet to be known. Now, you are opening the window of possibilities.

2. That which is not in your experience may exist, the only thing about it is, it’s yet to be experienced.

3. When you listen to something, nor believe it nor disbelieve it. Just be conscious about it and be a seeker, Truth is inclusive, you should seek for your own Truth.

4. Whatever you do you should fully involve/dedicate yourself, else it will be of no good to you. You must have heard about half cooked or half-knowledge, both are harmful and of no use.

5. You are the key to everything, it’s for you to make a choice whether to be limited or to break the boundaries of limitations.

6. Meditation is the most effective tool which can help you function effectively and efficiently towards making this a reality to yourself.

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Why is this Knowledge relevant? 

Education is significant and must be acquired by all to gain knowledge and learn skills.

It is the only key that can develop a whole generation of responsible human beings who can absorb good teachings and can impart it to many others.

It teaches us about various things and opens up a vast variety of career options in front of us which one cannot opt for if left uneducated.

Education can be imparted in a theoretical way or a practical manner. But out of these two which is more beneficial for the student and what should we value more.

1. Interactive Education creates a Deeper Impact

Practical education is way more interactive than theoretical. It does not involve just teaching and lecturing irrespective of whether the student can understand the concepts or not.

Theoretical education usually employs teachers who teach in a plain manner or books which may or may not include interactive exercises. Whereas in practical works, inputs from students are not just invited but are also necessary.

Interactive sessions, experiments, interactive exercises, are important features of practical education which ensure the involvement of students, making them learn and understand more.

And learning is the fundamental purpose of education, so to improve the learning level, more importance should be given to practical education rather than theory

2. Can motivate teamwork

While imparting practical knowledge to students, most of the activities involve team projects or programs where students are required to work in a group or as a team.

For one, it improves a student’s ability to interact with his/her fellow students and encourage them all for teamwork.

For another, it also makes the learning process more fun as students can grasp more while learning it in a group.

They tend to have fun in each other’s company and the whole teaching process becomes less boring and more fun. And you learn more while having fun.

3. Interesting Easy

When you find something interesting and have got your heart in it does seem easy. And especially when learning through practical sources instead of conventional theoretical ones, the leaning process does become comparatively easier.

So why not put more stress on practical means? Also while you are doing something practical, it reaches your brain more effectively making it easier to understand, apply, and remember.

4. It is more interesting  

Field trips, projects, experiments, don’t they interest you more than books, assignments, and lectures? Am sure they do because they are so much more interesting and engrossing than reading your regular bookish material.

5. Involves application and deals with real-life situations

Learning about facts and theories are not really of any use unless you are aware of their application in a real-life situation.

I spent the whole of my middle school wondering that what purpose it solves by knowing Sine theta square plus cosine theta square equals one.

But when introduced to its applications I realized what importance trigonometry holds in architecture and its related fields.

So unless you are applying your theoretical knowledge to real-life situations through practical experiments theory doesn’t hold much good and you will keep wondering why you are studying that particular topic.

6. Improves skills

Training and exercise are meant to improve your skills which cannot be obtained by just theoretical knowledge.

Theory can provide one with oodles of expertise and proficiency but it can never deliver those kinds of results and improved skills that you can get from practical education.

Again, reading a chapter of engineering won’t help but doing experiments will surely do and will improve your engineering skills.

7. Includes practice

Reading a lesson over and over again can be of little help. But performing activities or experiments based on it involves practice and you have heard it right, “Practice makes a man perfect”.

Go on reading a guide book for a new language without speaking that language at all and you will see no progress.

But start using that language and try conversing with other people and you’ll see the change.

You will see an improvement. So just sitting in a corner with a book or listening to a lecture has no practice involved unless the theoretical teaching is converted into practical activities.

8. Develops a better Understanding

Could you have ever understood the reflection of light had you not seen a mirror?

Just by reading about a phenomenon or a lesson, it cannot get straight to your mind even though it may be explained in the best manner.

You got to see it happening in front of your eyes and not by hearing it in somebody else’s words. Practical knowledge can help a lot over here because it is all there.

Be it understanding the phenomenon of physics or dwelling in literature. According to the author the song of a nightingale is magnificent but how would you know that unless you listen to it with your ears?

9. Knowledge retains in our mind

When we are cramming a lesson for a test, our brain tends to remember it for a short while, which can be shorter than the duration of your test thus not serving that purpose also because our brain forgets it easily.

You try too hard to learn a theorem or an explanation word to word by heart but always forget upon something.

While doing it practically, it can be in the form of experiments, real-life projects, or educational trips, the knowledge and the whole learning experience stays in our mind for long.

10. It does not require mugging up

Some people have an innate talent for remembering everything that read, even if they have read it once.

But others have to cram it very hard to retain it. And theoretical knowledge can involve lots of mugging up.

If you don’t want your child to become a bookworm, always lost in a pile of books, then practical education must be supplemented with theoretical teaching.

When we are practically looking at things and experiencing it, we do not need to cram it from a book.

Not mugging up takes off loads of pressure form a student’s brain thus helping in the learning process and also for relieving stress from over their heads.

Conclusion

Every individual needs to possess sufficient knowledge to lead his life smartly and successfully. It does not matter if you are a student, professional, or a businessman.

Knowledge is something very important in the life of an individual. Gaining theoretical knowledge is important but without practical knowledge, it is of no use.

Practical knowledge empowers an individual to achieve something that he has been studying.

It is worth noting that not only in professional life; you need to have a good practical approach for your life in general.

Hence it becomes really important for proper growth and utilization of your knowledge that you have a practical edge too, otherwise, there is no point in having theoretical knowledge also, when you can’t apply it in practice. 

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