Project-based learning (PBL) is becoming more prominent in today’s classroom as teachers actively engage their students in real-world experiences. The goal of every lesson is not only to teach students a skill or concept but also to find ways to make it stick. Retention is key. Studies show that much of what people read and hear is forgotten. They remember more when they participate in an activity or exercise. The more actively involved students are, the more they will absorb. That’s what makes PBL an ideal educational activity.
What is Project-Based Learning?
PBL is a multifaceted activity in which students acquire knowledge and skills by solving a real-life challenge, problem, or concern. They collaborate with others to explore a topic from many angles, using 21st-century skills, such as critical thinking, communication, and creativity. Students are usually required to take responsibility for research and inquiry, organization, time management, self-assessment, and self-reflection. They often incorporate technology into the projects and publicly present their final products. PBL units are designed to be long-term projects lasting weeks, sometimes months.
Project-based learning requires ample amounts of class time and demands more of teachers and students. The teacher acts as a coach or facilitator who guides students to a deeper understanding of their topics. Students tend to develop a more positive attitude toward education because their learning is meaningful. Though the planning can be daunting, PBL is well worth the effort due to its many benefits.
Here are some fantastic resources to get you started:
- Buck Institute for Education – This site explains in detail the essential components of PBL and the research studies that back up its results. It also provides a variety of resources to help you create a PBL assignment of your own.
- PBLU – Various projects created by Buck Institute for Education are designed to be implemented immediately in the classroom. The projects can be customized to fit the needs of students and teachers.
- Edutopia – The goal of this organization is to help students develop 21st-century skills that can be applied to their adult lives. Edutopia provides teachers with resources to implement PBL, along with strategies like social and emotional learning, brain-based learning, integrated studies, technology, and assessment.
- Magnify Learning – This site has a Project Library for teachers to peruse, organized by both subject and grade level. It also provides resources on designing your own project-based learning assignment.