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Implementing Project-Based Learning

Have you heard about project-based learning (PBL), but don’t know what it looks like in practice? PBL empowers students to take responsibility for their learning by choosing topics that interest them. What may look like an unstructured practice is carefully planned and effective.

We’ve collected top tips and ideas for implementing PBL in your classroom. Read on for an excerpt of “A Beginner’s Guide to Project-Based Learning” — and if it helps, download the full guide for more.

6 Elements of high-quality project-based learning

PBL requires planning and forethought. Here are 6 must-have components for a successful, high-quality PBL project.

  1. Intellectual challenge and accomplishment
    Projects should have the right balance of fun and challenging concepts. Aim to keep the project idea/prompt fun to retain student engagement but also include challenging ideas that require students to think critically.
  2. Public product
    Have students share their work with someone other than the teacher. PBL projects can be presented to the community, school administrators or even professionals who relate to the project topic. This makes students feel more valued because they aren’t just turning their work into a teacher to be graded, but get to show off their work to a wide range of individuals.

  3. Authenticity
    Encourage students to seek solutions that can solve authentic, real-world challenges and issues. This also involves allowing students to present their work to an authentic audience, as stated in the previous point.
  4. Collaboration
    PBL provides students the opportunity to work together and learn how to solve complex questions as a group. This also includes gaining experience on how to compromise and be respectful of others opinions and decisions.
  5. Project management
    PBL allows students to practice goal setting, time management, meeting deadlines and communicating with team members.
  6. Reflection
    Reflecting on a finished project allows students to evaluate how their work turned out. This reflection process will help students understand how to work more efficiently on the next project.

Collaboration and patience are important when implementing a PBL program. You can talk with other teachers in your school and create a plan to introduce PBL. You can also join a project-based learning community and get advice from teachers outside of your school!