Why Project-Based Learning Outperforms Traditional Instruction
Research shows that PBL can lead to better outcomes for many students—here are 5 reasons why it works.
Project-based learning has been used across grade bands to help students develop skills critical to their success in school, the workplace, and life. While many components make up rigorous PBL, consensus has started to build around what elements make it work best in the classroom. Over the years, an extensive body of research has looked at the efficacy of project-based learning—listed below are links to the studies cited in the video.
- Saavedra et al.’s 2021 Knowledge in Action efficacy study on how PBL can improve AP pass rates
- Krajcik et al.’s 2020 study on project-based learning in elementary science classrooms
- Recommendations from the National Commission on Social, Emotional & Academic Development, 2019
- Murre & Dros’s 2015 study about learning and memory retention
- Linda Darling-Hammond et al.’s 2019 study, Implications for Educational Practice of the Science of Learning and Development
- The National Academies of Sciences’ 2019 consensus study report on Science and Engineering for Grades 6–12
- Yeager et al.’s 2014 study on how purpose for learning fosters academic self-regulation
- Noguera, Darling-Hammond & Friedlaender’s 2015 Equal Opportunity for Deeper Learning study
Curriculum development and research on the first two programs mentioned—Multiple Literacies in Project-Based Learning (ML-PBL) and Knowledge in Action—was funded by Lucas Education Research, Edutopia’s sister division, from the George Lucas Educational Foundation.