George Lucas Educational Foundation
Project-Based Learning (PBL)

Project-Based Learning: What Policy Makers Can Do

How policy makers can support project-based learning.

November 1, 2001

Review the research. A comprehensive summary of current research on project-based learning, written by Bob Pearlman for the former Autodesk Foundation, is available online as a PDF document.

Include project-based-learning programs in standards and frameworks. Work on local, regional, and state committees to ensure that project-based learning is incorporated into the curriculum.

Use the bully pulpit. The more parents, business leaders, school administrators, and teachers hear about project-based learning from policy makers, the more they will be willing to investigate its potential.


Visit these Web sites for more information about project-based learning:

  • The Web site of the Buck Institute of Education offers a comprehensive primer on project-based learning and includes research, project examples, and professional-development listservs.
  • The Coalition for Essential Schools, through its Web site and other initiatives, advocates working on real-world problems as a way to engage students.
  • Created for teachers, the Global SchoolNet Foundation Project Registry contains worldwide projects using technology from classroom teachers and organizations such as NASA, iEARN, and GLOBE. The projects can be sorted by age level, subject, and project start date.
  • University of Texas professor Judi Harris created Virtual Architecture, a Web site rich in ideas on how to mine the Internet for projects. She offers a framework for designing and implementing curriculum-based telecomputing projects.
  • WebQuest, created by San Diego State University professor Bernie Dodge, offers teachers and students examples and explanations on using, selecting, and analyzing information found on the Web for teaching any subject at any grade level. WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented approach that supports thinking at the levels of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

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