Among the innovative educational approaches hot on teachers’ tongues this year, project-based learning is one to keep your eyes and ears on. This exciting teaching methodology (abbreviated as PBL) is a fantastic way to keep students engaged and help them build real-world, job-ready skills.
This article will discuss what project-based learning is, walk you through some common benefits, and finish by offering some handy examples to use in your classroom.
Let’s start learning!
What is project-based learning?
Project-based learning is a pedagogy that integrates learning with real-life experiences. Unlike some traditional educational approaches, PBL helps students recognise the relevance of their learning by applying it to practical scenarios.
A typical project-based learning cycle starts with creating a project that aims to answer an important question or connects learners with their interests. The project’s outcome defines not only what students know, but also how they learn best.
Project-based learning is one of the most popular approaches in education today, with its applications ranging from K-12 to higher education settings. PBL is a common choice in educational technology, where it has proven effective in helping students develop individualised learning plans, ultimately improving outcomes.
In a typical PBL setting, students have specific projects with tasks they need to complete to learn the content or reach their goals. Students learn by doing and through reflection on what they have achieved. In this kind of learning, students must show their work and reflect on their progress throughout the process.
Benefits of project-based learning
There are many benefits to this style of learning, including increased engagement and motivation among students, improved collaboration among learners, deeper understanding over time, and better transferability of skillsets. Project-based learners also enjoy the opportunity to explore different perspectives on an issue or topic, helping them become more creative thinkers.
Project-based learning offers fantastic benefits for educators, too. What could be better than a fully engaged, curious, and enthusiastic classroom? When students have a sense of control over and deep involvement in their work, they’re more likely to focus and perform well—making the process much more enjoyable for their teachers!
Additionally, PBL helps educators learn more about their students as individuals, leading to improved educational outcomes and stronger teacher-student relationships.
Project-based learning examples
Some simple examples of project-based learning include:
- Designing a greenhouse for students to study and grow their own plants,
- Developing engineering projects like designing a robot arm for people with disabilities,
- Learning to use work-applicable software like Excel or MYOB,
- Developing an event or business plan,
- Designing a mobile phone app,
- Planning a community project for children at risk.
When planning PBL activities for your classroom, make sure to keep your students’ needs and interests in mind. Ideally, each student will have some agency over their project, such as choosing the overarching topic or arranging the activity.
To summarise, project-based learning offers immense benefits to students and educators alike. As an educator, you’ll enjoy a more engaged and responsive classroom—along with the pride and joy in your students developing invaluable life skills.