Good colleges that offer hands-on learning include Purdue University School of Engineering, Harvey Mudd College, Rowan University College of Engineering and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Green Mountain College, University of Southern California, the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering and Sterling College are also known for their hands-on programming.
Hands-on learning in a college setting replaces traditional lectures with engaging projects and challenges for students to complete. One example of these challenges is a 12-credit research program at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in which students are asked to develop ways to harness sustainable energy for use in developing countries. Work experiences, farm-to-table food growing programs and software designing clinics are other examples of hands-on learning at these colleges. Some lectures are still included in the approach.
The high percentage of engineering schools that provide hands-on learning stems from a 50 percent dropout rate from heavy lecture-style programs. Experts recommend switching to experiential learning to both attract new students and retain the current student body. Colleges that incorporate hands-on learning offer labs and other open spaces for students to collaborate in teams, such as the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Laboratory at the University of Delaware and the i2i Learning Laboratory at Purdue University.