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What is Project-Based Learning?


What is Project-Based Learning (PBL)?

It seems like there are a lot of definitions of what PBL is on the internet. So to help ease some confusion, we're going to explain what PBL is all about and provide resources to help you implement it into your class.

"Project-Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging, and complex question, problem, or challenge. Students learn by actively engaging in real-world and personally meaningful projects.." [BIE]  


What accounts for Project-Based Learning?

According to Edutopia, project-based learning typically is grounded in the following elements:

  • Role-playing
  • Real-world scenarios
  • Blended writing genres
  • Multiple reading genres
  • Authentic assessments
  • Authentic audiences
  • Real-world expertise brought into the classroom
  • Units that assess multiple skills
  • Units that require research and comprehension of multiple subjects
  • Student choice
  • Collaboration
  • Multiple methods of communication (writing, oral speaking, visual presentations, publishing, etc.)

How does PBL differ from a project?

In contrary to a short and light-weighted project, PBL serves all its content in one large unit. The knowledge and skills a student needs to learn are packed in this whole unit. The unit is combined with various skills that students need to learn as well, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and communication with teammates.

By creating a good research question, students have to provide high-quality work to answer it. They do not only need to remember information but also draw the right conclusions from the information they have gathered.

Why Project-Based Learning?

Why are so many educators across the United States and around the world interested in this teaching method? The answer is a combination of timeless reasons and recent developments.

  • PBL makes school more engaging for students.
  • PBL improves learning.
  • PBL builds success skills for college, career, and life.
  • PBL helps address standards.
  • PBL provides opportunities for students to use technology.
  • PBL makes teaching more enjoyable and rewarding.
  • PBL connects students and schools with communities and the real world.

To read more on each of these methods, please visit the BIE website.

As Trello states: "students are encouraged to create their own workflows and make autonomous decisions as to how their results will be presented. Another important element of project-based learning is the inclusion of cooperative learning techniques. This involves bringing multiple students of varying abilities into a project to collaborate and work together towards a final presentation." [Read more HERE]  

If you’d like to implement PBL or more effectively use PBL in your classroom, check out this teaching rubric.


Solar System PBL

In this PBL Webmix, you find websites, videos, and worksheets that teach students more about our solar system. 

EdTech Tools for PBL

Gather all your EdTech PBL tools in your Webmix to make navigation easier for your students.

21st Century Learning

In this Webmix, you find the best resources for learning in the 21st century. Engage your students with the best resources available!

More Information

Organize your PBL lessons in Symbaloo! Gather, embed, share and search on Symbaloo, and offer your students a safe working environment. Don’t have a Symbaloo-account yet? Create a free account today!

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