Why Project Based Learning?
The world has changed a lot since most of us were in school. Studies and surveys continuously show that colleges and employers are looking for individuals who can do more than memorize content. They are looking for effective collaborators, communicators, creators, problem-solvers, and time managers.
Additionally, today's students are less willing to sit in a traditional lecture environment. They were raised in a world of technology and social media, and they enjoy creating things together and are hungry for learning that they find meaningful and relevant. Project-Based-Learning (PBL) is an effective, meaningful, and enjoyable way to engage today's learners and to develop skills for college, career, and life. Below are some additional benefits of a PBL approach to consider:
PBL makes school more engaging for students. Projects provide real-world relevance for learning. By providing a vision of an end product, PBL creates a context and reason to learn and understand the information and concepts. This is further enhanced through presentations for an audience beyond the school.
PBL builds success skills for college, career, and life. Students learn how to take initiative and responsibility, solve problems, work in teams, and communicate ideas, thus increasing their confidence and transforming how they think of themselves as learners.
PBL helps address standards. The Common Core and other state standards emphasize real-world application of knowledge and skills, such as communicating in a variety of media, and speaking and presentation skills. PBL is an effective way to meet these goals.
PBL connects students and schools with communities and the real world. Projects provide students with opportunities to interact with adults and organizations within their community. They are exposed to workplaces, adult jobs, and can develop career interests.
What is Project Based Learning?
When engaged in Project-Based-Learning, students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. Projects address content standards through an integrated approach and focus on additional success skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and self-management.
Projects can vary in length; some may take a week or two, others a month or more. They may be done individually, in teams, or by a whole grade level.
What does research say about PBL?
There is a strong body of evidence demonstrating a number of benefits of PBL, ranging from deeper learning of academic content to higher levels of engagement. Click below to review some research summaries.
More PBL resources:
Basic Steps of a Typical Project
The teacher defines (often with input from students) an engaging, challenging problem or complex question for students to investigate.
Students learn knowledge and skills needed to address the problem or question. The teacher provides resources and lessons. The students may talk with experts from outside the classroom.
Students develop their solution to the problem or answer to the question. They often create a physical object, a display, a media product, or an event.
Students share their work publicly, with people beyond their classroom.