Project Based Learning Fundamentals
Project Based Learning provides an immersive learning experience in which students learn THROUGH a project, instead of learning before completing a project. This isn’t your typical space unit with a mobile at the end! Here’s how it works: Students work on a project for an extended amount of time that ranges from a week to a semester. During that time, the students are engaged in solving a real-world problem or a complex question. For example: How can we plan a park that our community will want to use? At the end of the PBL unit, students will present their project and new knowledge to an authentic audience and the solutions they have garnered during that process. PBL provides opportunities for students to develop deep understanding of the content, critical thinking strategies, and communication skills, all while completing a meaningful project with meaningful results.
The purpose of PBL is not only for students to retain information, but to transform the way that they approach problems. By presenting students with a mix of responsibility, choices, and real-world authenticity, the projects provide students with long-lasting learning. Per the Buck Institute for Education, which designs project-based learning curriculums in schools,the fundamental design elements are as follows:
Teachers should create a challenging problem or question for students to tackle. The challenge should require students to utilize and learn skills and content knowledge that align with grade level and subject standards.
The goals of the project should connect to real world problems or issues. Students should have the opportunity to present their products to community members and real-world stakeholders.
Students should share a culminating product and seek authentic feedback from peers, parents, teachers, and the wider community. Products should generate an ongoing dialogue that does not necessarily end with the end of the PBL unit.
A PBL challenge should create opportunities for students to balance independent exploration and collaborative work. Students and teachers should work together to establish clear roles and guidelines for collaboration.
Teachers should establish clear routines and expectations, and regularly check in with students to provide ongoing feedback. Utilizing a digital workspace, such as a powerful Learning Management System can be beneficial for housing information, tools and resources for both students and teachers.
Students should be assessed using teacher-created rubrics, as well as their own self reflection. Students should reflect on their work, their learning, and their collaboration throughout the PBL process.
PBL is an excellent way to allow students to learn through authentic, lasting experiences. Project Based Learning can be incorporated into any subject and grade level with careful planning.
Ready to learn more about PBL? Join #iTeachDigital for our Intro to Project Based Learning Workshop – a one day workshop that includes pre and post on-demand lessons, an ongoing support community, and all the resources you’ll need to implement PBL in your classroom. Click here to learn more!