Project-Based Learning: What is it?
Project-based learning (PBL) is a method used to cultivate learning and teach students 21st century skills. The idea is “built upon authentic learning activities that engage student interest and motivation,” and “generally reflect the types of learning and work people do in everyday world outside the classroom” (pbl-online.org).
During project-based learning, students are approached with a complex question, problem, or challenge, which they respond to through a lengthy process of analysis and reflection. These projects are carefully planned, managed, and evaluated—and in the end students have created a high-quality, meaningful product.
It wasn’t until I did some research that I realized the concept is much different than the typical classroom project. Some major differences are pointed out in this graph:
One aspect that I think is particularly great about PBL is how it shifts away from teacher-centered instruction, and allows students to exercise their own voice. They can make decisions based on their own ideas and opinions, and then see how it affects the outcome. A wonderful example is shared in this Edutopia video- Student Voice: Experiencing Deeper Learning Through PBL.
If you haven’t already applied PBL to your curriculum, there is still time before the end of the year to do so! I suggest you do some professional development first:
- Seven Essentials for Project-Based Learning from ASCD
- PBL-themed paper.li by David Prindle (@dprindle)
- Project-Based Learning Professional Development Guide by Edutopia
- Project-Based and Problem-Based Learning from EducationWorld
- For additional PBL professional development, follow #pblchat on Twitter!
Have you tried project-based learning at your school? Please share your experience in the comment section below.