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Why a TAFE NSW degree is the practical choice

There are university degrees and then there are TAFE NSW degrees. But what's the difference?

You have a choice. A university degree. Or a TAFE NSW degree. How do you choose?

Traditionally a university degree is heavy on the theory and involves many hours sitting in vast lecture halls, often with up to 100 or more other students.

By contrast, a TAFE NSW degree involves a large amount of practical, hands-on learning. True, there's still some theory-based learning involved, but it's generally the practical component that dominates the training. And with much smaller, more intimate classes than university, TAFE NSW has no need for vast lecture halls.

[quote]So does this difference in learning style actually matter? After all, isn't a degree still a degree whether it's from university or TAFE NSW?[/quote]

Well… yes and no.

Learning by degree

The whole point of a degree is that it's supposed to signify its holder has attained a certain level of knowledge in their chosen field. But simply attaining knowledge in the first place isn't much use if the brain isn't able to hang onto it after final exams.

In other words, it's about retaining the knowledge as well as attaining it. And that's where different learning methods can result in vastly different outcomes.

Anyone who's ever sat in one of those vast lecture halls with someone down the front "instructing" them can attest to the low retention rate this method usually results in. A person is much more likely to remember something that they've actually done themselves or shown someone else how to do.

The Learning Pyramid

The famous Learning Pyramid is a good visual representation of this. The upper four levels (lecture, reading, audio visual and demonstration) are deemed passive learning methods and these generally tend to have low retention rates.

In contrast, the lower three levels (discussion group, practice by doing and teaching others) are deemed active learning methods. And it's these active methods that result in much higher retention rates, especially over the longer term.

Put another way, the more hands-on the method of teaching, the more knowledge a student will retain. And this is one of TAFE NSW's major strengths. With an emphasis on the practical rather than the theoretical, what you learn at TAFE NSW is likely to stay with you forever. It's the advantage of getting your hands dirty.

Browse the full TAFE NSW course list and enrol today!