Why Teach with Project-Based Learning?: Providing Students With a Well-Rounded Classroom Experience | Edutopia
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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Why Teach with Project-Based Learning?: Providing Students With a Well-Rounded Classroom Experience

Project-based learning helps students apply what they learn to real-life experiences and provides an all-around enriching education.
By Edutopia
Edutopia Team
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VIDEO: Project-Based Learning: An Overview

Project learning, also known as project-based learning, is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges, simultaneously developing cross-curriculum skills while working in small collaborative groups.

Because project-based learning is filled with active and engaged learning, it inspires students to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they're studying. Research also indicates that students are more likely to retain the knowledge gained through this approach far more readily than through traditional textbook-centered learning. In addition, students develop confidence and self-direction as they move through both team-based and independent work.

In the process of completing their projects, students also hone their organizational and research skills, develop better communication with their peers and adults, and often work within their community while seeing the positive effect of their work.

Because students are evaluated on the basis of their projects, rather than on the comparatively narrow rubrics defined by exams, essays, and written reports, assessment of project-based work is often more meaningful to them. They quickly see how academic work can connect to real-life issues -- and may even be inspired to pursue a career or engage in activism that relates to the project they developed.

Students also thrive on the greater flexibility of project learning. In addition to participating in traditional assessment, they might be evaluated on presentations to a community audience they have assiduously prepared for, informative tours of a local historical site based on their recently acquired expertise, or screening of a scripted film they have painstakingly produced.

Project learning is also an effective way to integrate technology into the curriculum. A typical project can easily accommodate computers and the Internet, as well as interactive whiteboards, global-positioning-system (GPS) devices, digital still cameras, video cameras, and associated editing equipment.

Adopting a project-learning approach in your classroom or school can invigorate your learning environment, energizing the curriculum with a real-world relevance and sparking students' desire to explore, investigate, and understand their world. Return to our Project Learning page to learn more.

Comments (95)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Erin F's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Winthrop courses teach us that PBL is the way to go. This approach does provide for a more engaged learning experience. Also, this approach supports the use of technology in the classroom and makes assessment for students more meaningful.

Travis Collier's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

We need to get this for all schools. I believe that if we can get our students ready for the real world now the world with be better in the long run. We can limit money in training because students will have some of their own while they are in school.

Bugs Bunny's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

This article was wonderful! Project based learning is a great alternative to getting students engaged.

Amy McBride's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I do not think that PBL is an alternative to traditional instructional methods. I think that it could work great in correlation with PBL but I don't see throwing everything else out the window working, because there is way too much that students have to learn as young learners to rely solely on project based learning.

Kenny Powers's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

PBL learning has alot of valid points and can help to facilitate a more successful learning if the program is implemented correctly.

Tabatha's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I fully agree with the concept of project based learning. It provides a way for students to learn that they actually enjoy which takes how a huge barrier in learning. Students may not always have a learning disability but they may have trouble learning because the information is not interesting to them and by using PBL it can eliminate that barrier for them.

Amber Weeks's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

PBL has a lot of positive qualities. I think that this teaching style is a lot more innovative and meaningful than traditional methods of teaching. Students who utilize PBL become expert learners and researchers.

Kayla S. Knopf's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Personally, I think that motivation is THE determining factor when trying to teach anything. If a teacher cannot motivate her students to learn, they are not going to get it. A teacher will soon find herself in a classroom of sleeping students who could not care less about what is going on around them. To be able to save our students from the often meaningless babble of traditional instruction, we can offer PBL that will motivate our students through hands on learning and authentic assessments, and we will find that students' motivation and progress has increased. I definitely believe that PBL is the answer. It may be unreasonable to expect that we can do this every time, but we as teachers can try to incorporate it as much as possible.

Stephanie A. Roberts's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I do agree that PBL is an excellent way to motivate students and captivate their attention early on in a lesson. We are in an age of modern technology and most students are already ahead so to speak with the use of technology in the home and everyday life. Then, once they come to school, it's a regression because of the traditional setting and the lack of appropriate interaction.

Everything around us has changed. In fact, change is inevitable. So why haven't classroom techniques and teaching methods changed? I had an opportunity to take a few Educational courses as electives while finishing up my MBA and during my Technology in Education course, I found a very profound video on youtube. Please view it. I think it will be quite enlightening for both novice and veteran educators.

Google "The Connected Classroom" or go to www.youtube.com and type in "The Connected Classroom"


Sherron's picture
Anonymous (not verified)


I whole-heartedly agree with you. It also enables ALL students to become involved in the lesson and, it allows them to develop life-long skills that are unforgettable also,gives them another reason to WANT tocome to class.

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