Project-based learning is an approach that allows students to learn by working over a period of time to investigate a topic. Projects are used to allow students to dive in and explore the topic in a way that engages them. BIE.org lists the following as elements to successful PBL:
- Key Knowledge, Understanding, and Success Skills – The project is focused on student learning goals, including standards-based content and skills such as critical thinking/problem solving, communication, collaboration, and self-management.
- Challenging Problem or Question– The project is framed by a meaningful problem to solve or a question to answer, at the appropriate level of challenge.
- Sustained Inquiry– Students engage in a rigorous, extended process of asking questions, finding resources, and applying information.
- Authenticity– The project features real-world context, tasks and tools, quality standards, or impact – or speaks to students’ personal concerns, interests, and issues in their lives.
- Student Voice & Choice– Students make some decisions about the project, including how they work and what they create.
- Reflection– Students and teachers reflect on learning, the effectiveness of their inquiry and project activities, the quality of student work, obstacles and how to overcome them.
- Critique & Revision– Students give, receive, and use feedback to improve their process and products.
- Public Product– Students make their project work public by explaining, displaying and/or presenting it to people beyond the classroom.
It focuses on teaching specific knowledge and skills while inspiring students to question actively, think critically, and draw connections between their studies and the real world.
There are many good reasons to use PBL. For example, it connects students to the real world, it allows for opportunities to use technology, and it promotes educational equity.
There is a misconception that project-based learning is the same as regular projects. PLB does often include projects, but it is much more than that. With PBL, the learning process is personalized. In PBL, the projects act as a way to let students experiment and build on their learning. The following graphic shows several differences between projects and PBL.
The biggest benefit of PBL is that it helps keep school from being boring. Each student has the ability to learn in a way that is unique to them and keeps them engaged. Engaged students learn more and become life-long learners.
Want more info on project-based learning? Watch this video!
CrowdSchool writes a lot of great blogs on Project-based learning.
I also loved this blog from a teacher who tried out PBL.
She’s not exactly an expert, but Ms. Mitchell and her class have been incorporating PBL and sharing their journey on Twitter. Check it out here.