What is project-based learning?

Project-based learning is a student-driven approach to classroom organization in which students are responsible for investigating a question, working in small groups to satisfactorily resolve that question, and presenting their results once the project is completed.

The idea behind project-based learning is to give students more control over how they meet the educational goals of your classroom, thereby increasing their engagement—if they're allowed to explore questions in their own way, they may develop insights that might not happen in a traditional classroom.

What's my role?

In a project-based classroom, your primary role is facilitator. You guide your students to questions that are worth answering. In the course of answering these questions, your students will develop skills and learn information that you have identified as essential.

Though student choice is a big part of project-based learning, the questions they choose to tackle must always serve one or more of the learning objectives of your classroom.

You'll also need to evaluate your students' progress at several points throughout the project, giving them feedback and letting them know which parts of the project are on the right track and which parts could use a bit of revision.

As with any group-based project, it's important to make sure that all the students in an individual group are contributing toward the goal of the project. Students must not be allowed to hide behind the rest of the group while contributing very little. One way to prevent this is to grade each student individually, either rather than or in addition to giving the entire group one grade for their project.

How does this differ from project-oriented learning?

In project-oriented learning, the teacher gives students everything they need to know before assigning the project. Students complete the projects in project-oriented learning after the unit is complete, after the teacher has taught the students what they need to know.

In project-based learning, the onus for learning is placed on the students themselves. The project is intrinsically part of the learning process—students learn everything they need to know in the course of completing the project.

Questions? Get in touch!

If you want to know more about project-based learning, send us an email; we'd be glad to discuss ways to implement it in your classroom.

Project-based learning: An approach to classroom structure in which students meet learning objectives by creating and managing their own group projects.