The Power of Hands-On Upskilling for Technical Learning

by Scott Flower

In the realm of technical learning, acquiring practical skills is as important as gaining theoretical knowledge. While traditional, lecture-based instruction has its place, hands-on preparation offers a range of benefits that can greatly enhance the learning experience for technical individuals. In this blog post, we will explore the research-backed advantages of hands-on training.

  1. Practical Application

Hands-on upskilling allows technical individuals to bridge the gap between theory and practice. By engaging in real-world scenarios, learners can better understand how concepts and theories are applied. Whether it's operating machinery, coding, troubleshooting equipment, or conducting experiments, the practical application of knowledge enables individuals to cultivate their problem-solving skills.

  1. Skill Development

Technical fields often demand specific skills that can only be honed through practice. Hands-on training provides a platform for individuals to develop these particular skills, nurturing their ability to perform tasks efficiently and effectively. From mastering complex procedures to fine-tuning manual dexterity, hands-on experiences play a vital role in skill acquisition.

  1. Active Engagement

Passive learning—simply receiving information as in a lecture or video—can result in limited information retention. Hands-on training, however, promotes active engagement. By directly participating in the learning process, and getting real-time feedback, individuals become immersed in the subject matter. One study found that people retain only 5% of what they learn through lectures, but they remember up to 75% of what they learn through practice by doing the tasks themselves.

  1. Mistake Learning

Mistakes are an integral part of the learning journey, and hands-on training allows individuals to make and learn from them in a controlled environment. Encountering and analyzing mistakes fosters a deeper understanding of the subject matter. Furthermore, the ability to experiment and learn from failures cultivates resilience and a growth mindset.

  1. Confidence Building

When technical individuals get practical experience, they gain confidence in their abilities. As they navigate real-world scenarios and successfully complete tasks, their self-assurance grows. This newfound confidence becomes invaluable when applying knowledge and skills in actual work settings, ultimately leading to increased productivity and efficiency.

  1. Collaboration and Networking

Hands-on training often involves collaborative group activities, which fosters interaction and networking opportunities. Engaging with peers and instructors encourages discussions, idea exchange, and the formation of professional relationships. These connections can provide valuable insights and support throughout one's career.

Research has consistently reinforced the importance and effectiveness of hands-on training for technical individuals. By providing opportunities for practical application, skill development, active engagement, mistake learning, confidence building, and collaboration, hands-on training creates a robust and immersive learning experience.


While hands-on training may not always be feasible or suitable for every learning situation, its benefits are undeniable. Combining theoretical learning with hands-on practice often yields the most impactful results. Whether you're a technical professional or part of an organization seeking to enhance technical training, incorporating hands-on elements can lead to a more effective learning journey.

So, embrace the power of hands-on training and unlock true potential in the technical realm. The future is yours to shape through practical knowledge and applied skills.

Learn more in our upcoming webinar, "It's All About Readiness: Why You've Been Doing Cyber Training Wrong." Scott Flower, the author of this post, is a co-presenter. Register here. 

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