university students

Is there a Problem with Theoretical Learning?

Is today’s education system lacking the practical skills necessary to excel in the working world? Is the lack of practical learning at fault here? Partially!

As we know, education helps us absorb good teachings and can impart it to many others. But the question arises in mind, what type of education we should emphasise more. On several occasions, theoretical education has been despised for lacking practical application to real life. But out of these two, which is more valuable for students?

The Problem itself does not lie in theory. Theory teaches you through the experience of others. Theoretical knowledge can give students a deeper understanding of a concept through seeing it in the context of a greater whole and understanding the everything behind it. The problem of concern is twofold: 

1, Education that is entirely lacking in practice or the opportunity to practice one’s knowledge

2, Education has an undue focus on theory with little connection to the problems and challenges faced by world. The market is changing. The 21st century is witnessing technological changes at a pace faster than any other decade or generation.

Universities and many institutions of learning must be up-to-date with modern day needs. Stuffing the brains of young people with information is not the answer, and lecturers know this. Theoretical knowledge of skill-based subjects needs to be supported by practice. Many subjects like engineering, IT or various subjects in natural sciences are skill based. In these subjects, practical knowledge is more important than theoretical.

Practical work should include 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. And the problem emerges at an interview table or on the first day of a job, when theory fails to deliver the promise that a degree supposed to provide for a company or organization.

The reason we address this problem is because MANY universities and their lecturers are reluctant to pursue traditional and outdated methods or undermine the necessity of innovating their lectures. Theoretical knowledge of skill- based subjects must be supported by practice. Subjects like biology and engineering are skill based. In these subjects, practical knowledge is more important than theoretical. Practical work includes group work, experiments, projects, assignments and problem solving cases. Getting theoretical knowledge has no value until students can apply it through practical measures. 

So what to do if the courses and lectures are lacking in practice? Theoretical learning is by no means bad. Your future employers should know that students and fresh graduates:

  1. Have an understanding of the theoretical fundamentals of your field
  2. Know how to compete with peers and how to cooperate with peers
  3. Know how to function in a highly structured environment with rules and deadlines
  4. Are capable of learning and following instructions

One must be aware of what their knowledge can provide to this world. Companies usually provide the most practical skills necessary for interns and fresh graduates. But they always prefer someone who needs no pampering and knows their field well enough. And for this reason it is best to prepare and seek out ways to apply your knowledge through practice. 

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