Learning Strategies

What is Project-Based Learning?

Project-based learning is exactly what it sounds like: working on a project in order to complete a task or gain mastery of a concept.

In the classroom, it looks something like this: Teachers assign a task or problem - an explicit goal - and students work together to provide a solution. When using PBL in the classroom, teachers act more as facilitators than directors, letting groups choose their own methods and use their own ideas. The idea is that the project becomes the main executor of the curriculum; in order to complete it, students employ principles from all subject areas, teaching themselves and learning as they go.

Why use PBL?

  • Students take ownership. When students are tasked with a problem and given space to solve it in their own way, they take ownership of their learning. Rather than being handed a worksheet to reinforce a lesson they were just taught, they are able to work together using their own ideas and methods. When able to work in an environment that invites creative thinking and contribution, students take pride in their knowledge.
  • Students learn collaboration and other real-life skills. Since one of the main tenants of PBL is group work, it cannot be done alone; learning to work together is an inherent outcome. PBL also encourages students to use what resources they have, be it technology, makerspace supplies and equipment, books and the Internet, or even nature. Having school furniture designed for collaboration like whiteboard desks and group learning desks further contribute to this learning style. These skills are valued in the work force and help prepare students for life after school.
  • Incorporation of entire curriculum. Rather than learning each subject in a silo, project work encourages exploration of multiple subjects. Tasks are designed in such a way that a broad knowledge is necessary for completion. In addition to comprehension of individual subjects, students gain an understanding of the relationship among them and an appreciation of the ways they all fit together.

"Why Project Based Learning (PBL)?" Buck Institute for Education. Web. http://www.bie.org/about/why_pbl

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