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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning is a dynamic classroom approach in which students actively explore real-world problems and challenges and acquire a deeper knowledge.

Overview

What is Project-Based Learning?

Project-based learning is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges. With this type of active and engaged learning, students are inspired to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they're studying. Watch an introduction video.

History

What's the History of PBL?

Confucius and Aristotle were early proponents of learning by doing. Socrates modeled how to learn through questioning, inquiry, and critical thinking -- all strategies that remain very relevant in today's PBL classrooms. Learn more.

Experts

What the Experts Say

"One of the major advantages of project work is that it makes school more like real life." --Sylvia Chard, University of Alberta See what other experts say.

Research

Research: Studies on PBL Success

Did you know PBL students remember learned content for longer periods of time? Did you know PBL students view themselves as better prepared in problem solving and perform better in tasks that emphasize understanding and application of knowledge? Dig deeper.

Discuss

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Browse

Sparking Civic Engagement by Building in Public Spaces
video

Sparking Civic Engagement by Building in Public Spaces

Sixteen-year-old Alexa gains hands-on experience and leadership skills by collaborating on a play space for kids through Philadelphia's Public Workshop, which promotes community engagement and innovation.

74 2,632 views
blog

Making the Most of Mentors for Students

Blogger Suzie Boss provides pointers for teachers on how best to utilize adult mentors who help their students with projects.

234 2,131 views
blog

Are School Librarians Part of Your PBL Dream Team?

If librarians know about upcoming projects, they can help to spark curiosity even before project launch day.

581 6,518 views
Rigorous Project-Based Learning Transforms AP Courses
video

Rigorous Project-Based Learning Transforms AP Courses

Through a project called Knowledge in Action, researchers at the University of Washington have been exploring whether project-based learning can help high school students with diverse learning styles understand content more deeply in advanced...

1 380 10,771 views
article

Knowledge in Action Research: Next Steps

The Knowledge in Action project is underway with plans to refine curricula, improve learning tools, develop formative assessments, understand challenges to implementation, and expand into additional subject areas.

5 1 1,880 views
article

Knowledge in Action Research: Results to Date

According to the Knowledge in Action research project, students taking a project-based learning (PBL) course do as well or better on the AP test, and in some cases significantly better, when compared to control classes.

1 29 3,760 views
article

Knowledge in Action Research: Project-Based Learning Course Design

The Knowledge in Action team used two key design principles when designing the AP Government coursework: 1) Projects are the central element, or spine, of the course, and 2) learning cycles (dubbed "looping" by the participating teachers), enable...

51 7,517 views

Pages

article

A Reading List for Project-Based Learning

Explore these project-based learning resources for educators and parents.

2 27 14,152 views
article

Integrated Projects = Deeper Learning

Here's how one school designs rigorous projects that blend STEM with other core subjects. See how this strategy might work for you.

126 14,027 views
Anatomy of a Project: Give Me Shelter
video

Anatomy of a Project: "Give Me Shelter"

Juniors at Casco Bay High School, in Portland, Maine, explore homelessness by working in teams to make audio slide-show portraits.

3 73 14,027 views
blog

5 Tips for Flipping Your PBL Classroom

Edutopia blogger Andrew Miller considers how the project-based learning and flipped-classroom models can successfully intersect, offering five tips for engaging students in the project while moving aspects of it outside the classroom walls.

23 707 13,902 views
blog

Kids Like Blues: Using Music and Video to Rock Your Classroom

Teacher and musician Jon Schwartz tells the amusing and inspiring story (with generous video examples) of how he turned the blues into an effective pedagogy for his first graders.

8 305 13,902 views
blog

Practical PBL: Four Tips for Better Implementation

Teacher Adrienne Curtis Dickinson offers four practical tips for taking PBL from a high concept to something easily implemented in the classroom.

2 162 13,777 views
article

What Is Project-Based Learning About?

A description of what teachers can accomplish in the classroom using project-based learning, from our Project-Based Learning Professional Development Guide.

4 5 13,777 views

Pages

Classroom Guide: Top Ten Tips for Assessing Project-Based Learning

This guide will inspire and expand your thinking about effective assessment for project-based learning. Tips are organized to follow the arc of a project: planning, launch into active learning, and then a culminating presentation. Reflection is the final...

2,885 153,546 views
Article

Project Learning: Model Schools with Solutions

Project learning encourages students to explore real-world challenges while developing cross-curriculum skills in small collaborative groups. Edutopia has visited many schools that have implemented project-based learning programs -- here are some of the best...

1 2 6,643 views
Article

Project-Based Learning Professional Development Guide

An overview of the Edutopia professional development guide for teaching how to use project-based learning in the classroom.

15 150 60,867 views