Skill-based teaching denotes a set of strategies aiming to reduce the amount of “inert” information imparted to our students. TUM graduates should be in a position to translate their knowedge into action - which, on the one hand, calls for the long-term integration of factual expertise, value judgments, and proficiencies into their personal skill sets; in addition, they should be able to implement these competencies in complex situations.
"Inert" information refers to theoretical knowledge assimilated mentally but not implemented in actual practice. During their lecture and classroom sessions, students take in huge quantities of abstract information, much of which does not relate directly to hands-on skills and competencies; furthermore, classic examination formats often reinforce this tendency. To counteract this effect, teaching staff are increasingly being expected to take on a more skill-based perspective, requiring a stronger focus on competency training rather than the mere transmission of a canon of knowledge. This does not imply that factual expertise and practical skills should be played off against each other; to this day, a solid basis of theoretical know-how - still a chief prerequisite for the acquisition of skills - can sometimes only be built by means of rote memorization.
But skills are best learned in action, and can thus only be "taught" to a limited extent. To support skill acquisition, university training programs must offer laboratory-style settings where competencies can be applied to practical situations. Here, expert feedback given honestly on a basis of mutual respect remains crucial in cementing students' newly acquired proficiencies. At this point, students can translate the factual knowledge they have passively absorbed into tangible experience that can be analyzed and reflected upon, and thus fine-tune their decision-making capabilities.