Saloni Singh, 4th Year, BBA. LL.B (Hons.) Mody University

“There was a time when a notebook and a pencil were sufficient tools for study in a classroom. In today’s world, students need much more to prepare themselves for the job market. The thing that has not changed is the impact a teacher can have on the life and learning of a student.”


A theoretical knowledge of a subject is knowledge of the principles and ideas of the subject rather than of the way the principles are put into practice. Knowledge gathered from the books on the subject, rather than knowing how it can be used or applied is being theoretical.

  • He has read about how to drive a car. He has thus the theoretical knowledge of driving. He has not yet driven a car, as he is yet to practice it.
  • His knowledge of computers is mostly derived from books. It is theoretical. He cannot carry out all operations on it, though he knows how to do it in theory.


In order to understand practical knowledge, let’s begin with an example. Suppose that we start with someone who is learning to play the piano. This certainly counts as an example of practical knowledge. At the beginning, the piano player begins by knowing nothing about how to play. At the very beginning, the piano player is given an amount of theoretical knowledge about pianos. This includes such things as where the notes are and how musical notation is properly understood. Now the player knows in one sense and is ignorant in another. Next, the piano player is told how to play the piano. They may observe the teacher playing and listen to the teacher give them advice on how to properly play the piano. This will include such things as how to properly place one’ s hands on the keyboard, how hard to hit the keys and which fingers to use when playing. This is factual knowledge. Finally, the piano player is told to practice and improve. By gaining experience playing, one learns. This is experiential knowledge. By the time the piano player has mastered the ability to play particular songs, they have gained some theoretical knowledge, some factual knowledge and some experiential knowledge. There is no need to suppose a further category of practical knowledge to explain the piano player’ s knowledge.

There is one further aspect to consider. Suppose we consider the skill of playing a piano to be more than simply playing songs correctly. Those who have achieved a complete mastery of piano playing also display an aspect of creativity. Songs are not intended to be played the exact same way every time. They are intended to played as best fits the situation. There is also an element of originality in playing. So there are two sides to complete mastery an instrument. One side is doing things at the right time, in the right way and in the right circumstances. This is just another name for the virtue of wisdom. It is not an aspect of knowledge, but a perfection of action. The other side is simply creativity itself. Creativity is simply an indirect expression of truth as that truth best fits the circumstances. It is not a special kind of knowledge either.

None of this description requires a distinct kind of knowledge called practical knowledge. So it seems best to understand practical knowledge as that kind of knowledge that is is required in order to do a particular kind of activity well. It is composed of theoretical, factual and experiential knowledge. This knowledge is always aimed at a particular activity. But activity does not make the knowledge one kind of thing. We only know what the knowledge is because we consider what knowledge is required to do the activity.  The point of doing the activity is the activity, not the knowledge gained from it. So there is no special reason to suppose that practical knowledge is something different from the other kinds of knowledge. So considered as a kind of thing, there is no such thing as practical knowledge.

Can you imagine someone teaching you to swim or drive a vehicle, within four walls of a classroom? It is impossible!! You have to get into the water to learn swimming and you have to be out on the road to learn driving. Some subjects are skill based and practice oriented. Theoretical knowledge of skill- based subjects needs to be supported by practice. Subjects like teaching and engineering are skill based. In these subjects, practical knowledge is more important than theoretical knowledge.Practical work includes 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.

  • When you do something with your own hands you remember better.
  • Practical work promotes experiential learning.
  • Practical work encourages self-learning.
  • Practical work familiarizes students with tools and equipment that he will be required to use.
  • Practice leads to perfection.
  • One cannot become an expert overnight; greater the practice, greater the expertise.
  • Practical work is a good change from the monotonous lecture method.
  • Students are required to participate actively in practical activities.
  • Involvement of students is more in practical work.
  • Practical work complements theory.
  • Practical assignments are often carried out in groups. Group work helps to inculcate social values and values like sharing, cooperation, team spirit, compassion etc.
  • Practical work makes students independent and increases their confidence.

Students who complete engineering education often find that when they start working, they are at a loss in spite of getting very good marks in the examination. If the engineering colleges in integrates theory with practice, students are better prepared for jobs. Practical knowledge in advance boosts their confidence.

Hence, there are several benefits of practical work. At the same time it must be remembered that theoretical knowledge is also important. Practical work is application of theory. Theory creates a strong base for practical work. One must be able to achieve a balance between theory and practice for best results. Theory and practice are two sides of the same coin.

I am talking about a very important topic on education. Many students have good practical knowledge but are poor in theoretical knowledge. In the same way many students have good theoretical knowledge but are poor in practical knowledge. So according to you which knowledge is good? Does Theoretical knowledge is necessary if any one has command over practical knowledge.

I think it is practical knowledge which holds greater importance than theoretical knowledge. Whatever we may study, if we can’t apply it to real life situations, it is of no use. Similarly, even if one don’t have much idea about the terminology associated with the work a person is doing, as long as he is able to do it correctly, it doesn’t make much difference.

For instance, an electrician knows which wire to cut/attach when there is some problem in our house circuitry. So even if they don’t know what each of the wires is termed as or why to cut only that particular wire it doesn’t make much difference.

  • I would like to end with a funny anecdote. One Mr. X had a master’s degree in automobile engineering and worked on a high post in a reputed organization. One day, on his way to the office, his car stopped working and he got off to investigate the problem. With his high qualification and expertise in the area, he examined each part of the car carefully but couldn’t find any fault. After a while, a peasant who was passing asked him, “What’s the matter?”

He answered, “Well, something is wrong with the car.”

The peasant replied,” Did you check the tank? Perhaps there is no petrol.”

The peasant was right.

This is what might happen when theoretical knowledge is not supported by practical knowledge.




I am totally supporting the fact that practical knowledge which holds greater importance and meaning in long run than theoretical knowledge. Whatever we may study, we should connect with the real life. Bookish knowledge is subjected to class room learning and that cannot be perfect and full. But Practical knowledge involves our own experience in the subject matter and that gives us in depth knowledge of the fact.

I think one should have practical knowledge with him/her. If one is having practical knowledge, then he/she will not face much difficulty in making its theoretical portion. He/She is having all the knowledge with him/her, now he/she can run their brain to write its theory in whatever way he/she wants it to be written.

Also when after completing your education, when we seek for a job and get it. We need to know the practical way of performing tasks and operation related to job type. If we are having practical knowledge in advance then it will make an easier way for us to secure good marks in our subject and also to do well at our workplace(job).


Facebook Comments