How to reconcile theory and practice studying at a distance?

How to reconcile theory and practice studying at a distance

How to reconcile theory and practice studying at a distance

Among the platform-tools myths of distance education, is the idea that it is not possible to combine theory and practice, due to the study taking place outside the classroom. However, does studying through an online platform and receiving content over the internet really make experimentation difficult? Have you ever stopped to think about it?

The truth is that the ways of exercising knowledge in distance education are even very similar to face-to-face teaching, although there are some adaptations, such as procedures to clarify doubts with the teacher and contact with the members of the class.

Below, we will talk a lot about how to reconcile theory and practice so that you understand that there is no harm and obtain your diploma at a distance. Be sure to check it out!

Why is it important to combine theory and practice?

An analogy can, from learning to skate. If no one tells you where to put your feet, how to balance and what movements are on the board, you will probably fall to the floor. However, even if you know the theory, you will only be a good skater if you practice a lot.

In a degree, the theory will be more complex than necessary to skate, but the logic is the same. Courses like Administration, Accounting, Law, Medicine, and Letters combine both sides of learning. Neurolinguistic Programming offers good grounds for understanding this relationship between knowledge and experience:

  • we start learning by unconscious incompetence, in which we don’t even know what we don’t know about a topic;
  • we move towards conscious incompetence in which we have already identified our difficulties and what needs to be learned;
  • we then arrive at the conscious competence in which things demand our full attention to, out;
  • we end up in unconscious competence in which learned behaviors are already automated.

Academic knowledge, in this sense, provides the foundation for the development of skills and understanding of a discipline. With it, we move from complete ignorance about a subject to its conscious domain. Subsequently, repetition, experimentation, and attempt to build unconscious skills.

This occurs even in more theoretical disciplines. Imagine, for example, if the lawyer had to mentally go over the whole theory of Civil Law whenever the judge asked a question, there would be a big problem, wouldn’t it? At some point, professional competence had to become automatic, combining theory and practice.

How to combine theory and practice in distance learning?

The main difference of distance education is the way the theoretical content reaches the student: instead of attending a classroom with a scheduled date and time, the student receives the material through an online platform – multimedia content, texts, audios, videos, etc.

Use the digital platform-tools

With the transfer to the virtual environment, activities aimed at classroom practice need to timidest online. To this end, the colleges provide discussion forums, tasks, exercises, channels for solving doubts, tutoring and other mechanisms to meet the student’s needs.

Therefore, the first measure of those who want to combine theory and practice is to be an active user of the resources of the teaching platform. The ideal is, at least, to match the degree of engagement you would have in person. In short, if you would ask the teacher several questions and have class discussions with classmates, do it digitally.

An interesting point is that, for the timidest people, distance education can be a way to engage even more than what would happen in the classroom. There is no pressure to ask a question or say that you did not understand the explanation, for example.

Think of practical applications when studying theory

Another important tip is to adopt an active attitude towards the content. When studying, try to find out what are the problems and situations in which we can apply what has been learned. The internet is there for that, look for how the content has been generating results in your area, in surveys, companies, office, etc.

From this immersion, it is also possible to notice how practical activities are reflected in theory. Issues such as technological changes, new discoveries, laws, social problems and specific difficulties of an industry generate changes in the disciplines.

Take time for the exercises

With a large number of public tenders carried out in the last decade, there are free databases with several questions from previous tests. Therefore, a good way to integrate theory and practice is to solve problems.

Exercises have two major advantages. The first is to assist memorization, the second is that, if something fell through a selection process, it is because the proposed challenge has some connection with the practice or, at least, the topic has some relevance.

Realize that the suggestion is valid even if you have no interest in the public sector. It is that, working in a company or in its own business, knowing how to analyze a problem and, more importantly, solve it is an indispensable behavioral skill.

Participate in complementary activities

The active stance must also be adopted as activities complementary to the course. The ideal is to look for a way to experience daily professional life since college, especially in environments where the trainees are guided by specialists and teachers. Here are some initiatives:

Extracurricular internship

These are programs created for the training of professionals, usually offered by companies or public entities. The idea is to allow the execution of supervised tasks at a level compatible with the student’s development, allowing the combination of theory and practice.

Junior company

They are non-profit entities that have university students on their staff, also under the supervision of more experienced professionals. In this program, students experience the practice of working in a real enterprise, although with minimized risks.

Extension programs

These are activities carried out with the community, such as customer service, social actions, research and the like. The student, in this case, can not only use the acquired knowledge and gain experience but also develop a relevant social role.


These are lectures, workshops, short courses and other activities of the scientific community in the area. It is very common for colleges, professional councils, and associations to discuss the news and problems of a segment, inviting specialists and making room for the public.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that most of the activities mentioned would already be important in classroom teaching. Therefore, good training always involves taking a series of measures to complement academic knowledge.

Therefore, if you want to obtain a diploma through distance learning, there will be no prejudice to combine theory and practice. The determining factor, in both modalities, is the engagement in actions aimed at experimentation and professional experience.

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