One of the best ways to boost retention of any topic you're teaching is to turn the tables on your students and ask them to teach what they've just learned to each other.  In other words, your class can improve how they learn through teaching the concept to someone else!

See One, Do One, Teach One

See One, Do One, Teach One in Action

This idea isn't new, but it's not often used in standard courses.   The "See One, Do One, Teach One" method is a core component of the philosophy of Experiential Education (not to be confused with experiential learning), most famously expressed by John Dewey in his 1938 book, Experience and Education.

Used heavily within medical schools, this technique is often employed within skill based courses, but you can use this technique in almost any educational setting.

An Example

Here's an example of how you could implement the "See One, Do One, Teach One" technique:

  • See: Explain and demonstrate the concept in front of the class (or cover the topic through your eLearning course).
  • Do: Now provide a few exercises that your students can undertake, which reinforces the teaching you've just provided.  E-Learners should be able to do a few problems or quizzes via the Learning Management System.
  • Teach: Divide the class into "learners" and "teachers" and pair students up with each other.  Most LMSs will have collaboration facilities to help students interact online, or you could assign a homework problem that requires them to teach you via writing.  Ask students who are "learning" to ask reasonable questions to make sure the teacher understands.  Now switch the roles and repeat.  Ask the class to save any questions that came up which couldn't be answered to be covered by the entire class.

Classroom Implementation Tips

Here's a few easy ways you can incorporate experiential education into some of your course offerings:

  • Assign your students homework that requires them to explain a concept to each other outside of class.  Or, if your concept isn't too technical, to explain to a family member, partner, or someone else not enrolled in the class.
  • For skill based courses, make sure you can easily provide students with the practice tools and equipment that may be necessary.
  • If you offer the same course to multiple classes at the same time, you could have one class instruct the other and vice versa.
  • As part of an examination, the instructor can be "taught" the concept orally.


Experiential education doesn't replace all forms of education, and should be used judiciously on core concepts, but you'll find yourself surprised at how beneficial this simple technique is to someone learning a complex or detailed concept.

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