Learning by Doing: Students Learn from Each Other

A statement on the value of 'learning by doing' submitted by a recently-opened Finnish primary school.

Purpose and process

The school's main mission is 'learning by doing'. They strongly believe that 'learning by doing' is the best way to learn so that the learner takes responsibility for their own learning. At the same time, they believe it enables students to work in an innovative way towards a long-term goal, to assess their own performance and to realise the impact the learning experience itself has on their performance.

It is important for the school to let students become involved in an appropriate way, and to take responsibility for the common management of affairs in their own school community. Moreover, they believe that through 'learning by doing' students will also learn from each other. They use the method both for learning something new and for expanding on any prior knowledge in the following way:

  • Students in small groups of 2-4 take it in turns to explain about their piece of knowledge or idea
  • They then ask each other questions to gather more details
  • They make suggestions or try to find out more information about the topic; at this point, it is very important for them to discuss what they think is good about it and what if anything they don't agree about it.
  • Once they have come to a conclusion about it, they try if possible to do it or to make a prototype
  • Finally, there is always a debate: 'Did we learn something new or did we get something better?'

In this model, students have an active role and work not only as a learner but also as a tutor. By questioning and discussing, students learn from each other.

'Do-reflect-conclude-decide' - and you may have something new!

Learning outcomes

Students can: 

  • Develop self-confidence, independence and the ability to critically analyse and assess their own progress  
  • Strengthen their experiences of participation, self-reliance, initiative, sense of direction, the ability to cooperate and empowerment
  • Build consideration of others, tolerance of differences and their sense of inclusiveness and fairness
  • Learn to reflect, to recognise when something needs to change and eventually to come up with a better decision
  • Make a meaningful contribution to the life of their school 

Curricular or thematic relevance

Can be used to enrich most subject areas; it fits well into the Finnish national curriculum and learning outcomes. It also supports the common view of learning.

How to organise:

Any curricular/extra-curricular context is suitable

Assessment and evaluation approaches

Assessment and evaluation should be fully integrated within this approach

Volunteer involvement

There is potential for involving external partners (e.g. entrepreneurs, businesses, volunteers, parents) in many 'learning by doing' activities.

Additional comments

"Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I will understand." (Chinese Proverb)

Provider country


Has been provided by school:

Lappeen koulu

helper do TM detail body (June 6th, 1st half)

helper do TM detail right side (TM June 6th, 2nd half)

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