How 3D Printing Can Improve Student Learning

As a student, would you rather have a 90 percent chance of retention or a five percent chance of retention? Student learning, at its most powerful, takes place as experiential or hands-on learning. Students who engage in hands-on learning are 90 percent more likely to retain the material than their more traditional counterparts. 

Student Learning and Technology Trends

Classroom learning is now filled with physical experiences and interactions that become highly engaging student learning opportunities. Traditional curriculum materials are still in place but exciting additions such as 3D printing are becoming more affordable and more readily available in today’s classrooms. These technology trends are changing how students learn. Educators and administrators are looking for more info on 3D printing.

Hands-on Experiences

Student learning is most effective when students can hold and experience their topics of study.  Most students are in a one-to-one environment, each having their own digital device.  This allows students to design and print any object that might enhance their learning: an organ for biology, a historical artifact, a musical instrument, or even a molecule for chemistry. Understanding an abstract concept is now within their reach.

Design Thinking

Modern student learning revolves around the concept of design thinking. Not only are students required to digest the content but they must apply that content in a solution based on reality. 

Using a 3D printer allows classroom learning to meet the real world. Any student is now able to design a solution and have it created within the walls of their school.  A 3D printed object allows for creativity, testing, and design changes. This concept is not easily taught with a traditional book and lecture approach that focuses on the consumption of knowledge but not retention. 

This type of thinking allows students to learn from their failures and develop a sense of resiliency.  

3D Printers and Learning Styles

There are as many learning styles as there are students.  Each person learns and digests content in their own way.  A 3D printed object is beneficial to all learning styles. From auditory to visual to kinesthetic, students are quickly able to gain access to an object, through 3D printing, that will add to their learning experience.  

Motivation is a key factor in using 3D printed objects in the classroom.  No matter a student’s learning style, using tangible objects significantly increased their motivation and retention of information.

Students as Inventors and Entrepreneurs

Students are preparing for jobs that may not even exist today.  They must be successful at solving real-world problems.  Students must be skilled at being resourceful and resilient. They must design, test, design, and test again.

To do this successfully, they need a tool that will allow them to inexpensively create tangible objects.  Having a 3D printer in the classroom allows for this, opening up an entire world, that until recently, was not available.

The 3D printer is a tool that is needed in today’s classroom so that the student learning of today can meet the needs of tomorrow. Be sure to check out the rest of the blog for more info about 3D printing.