Project Based Learning (PBL) + Examples

14 min read
Project Based Learning (PBL) + Examples

Project-based learning refers to the idea of an instructional approach tailored to give the opportunity to the student to develop. This practice helps the student gain more opportunities and knowledge with the help of engaging projects that interest them. Moreover, it also aids in developing the skill level of the students.

Project Based Learning

Project-based learning is becoming increasingly common in numerous schools and institutes. It is being practiced with various approaches and strategies. With the help of project-based learning, the students collaborate and work together on a particular problem. However, organizing these projects might prove to be difficult for the teachers.

The aim of the project is to help the student in going deeper into solving problems and adopting a clear approach. Furthermore, it helps in raising the concentration level and engagement level among students.

For the best results in project-based learning, the project needs to be:

  • Open-ended and emphasize thinking
  • The project should encourage the students to develop their thinking and problem0solving techniques.
  • Allow the students to make their own approach to respond and develop the answer.

It is evident that project-based learning is much different from traditional rote learning. The overall approach takes the help of critical thinking and problem-solving techniques.

The Importance of Project Based Learning

Project based learning has many positive outcomes which makes it one of the important learning method. This technique has a direct impact on how well the students prepare for the work force and graduation. Moreover, the technique can also boost communication skills among the individuals.

Below are certain aspects which give project based learning an edge over other methods:

  • The method teaches the importance of time management and responsibility.
  • Provides the teacher with numerous ways of assessing the student’s progress.
  • Design analysis and derive important lessons from the project

Compared to the old-school techniques, project-based learning helps the students establish core skills. The method emphasizes that students cannot continue to work with rote-learning and memorization techniques. In order to be successful, the students need to have a divisive skill set.  In other words, project-based learning empowers the student for the life ahead.

Key Characteristics of a Project-Based Learning

Project based learning is very different from doing a normal project. It is not just a random task assigned by the teacher as group work. Below are the core characteristics of the method which may help in understanding the method in detail.

  • Open-Ended
  • Build on Knowledge Acquired
  • Student-Centered
  • Freedom of Learning
  • Assessment Criteria

Key Characteristics of a Project-Based Learning

1.     Open Ended

The major characteristics of these types of projects are enabling the students to start their research. They have to draw out knowledge from their personal experience and come up with the solution. Whether it is an essay, presentation or a final project, it needs to promote critical thinking and hands-on approach.

The project should be based on real life implications to aid their learning. Since the real-world problems cannot be overcome with the help of only one subject area, project based learning encourages the student to perform avid research.

2.     Build on Knowledge Acquired

The project based learning help the students in exploring different aspects of the subject. This practice enables the student to apply the knowledge on real-life scenarios. Additionally, the method encourages the students to dive deeper into the subject and explore. The teachers need to ensure that the overall solution has the real-life meaning and importance.

3.     Student-Centered

Project based learning enables the student to explore different aspects of the given topic. These could be different from what the teachers initially taught in the class. The practice allows the student to explore and solve the problem themselves and come up with their version of solution. Additionally, it nurtures the room for growth and extends the query. If necessary, the teachers can even break the project into different stages for assessing and keeping track with their progress.

4.     Freedom of Learning

Experts and education experts have identified that students learn the best when they have more freedom. They should study the thing that captures their interests and imagination. Furthermore, it allows the student to have the autonomy to explore what they make and how.

The role of a teacher changes significantly in this project and they become the project manager if the students. In this method, they need to learn how they can pitch their ideas to an audience. Enabling these aspects will help them bring their passion to the project and express their hidden talent.

Freedom of Learning

5.     Assessment Criteria

For more effective results and learning, the teacher can also share the assessment criteria with the students. It will help them know what is expected from them after the project. Before the assigning of the project, the teacher can inform the student about the grading methodologies. These include:

  • The overall grading criteria of the project
  • All the expectations of the teachers from a project
  • Whether the project is individual or group based

When students are aware of the criteria, it increases their chances of success.

Project Based Learning VS Problem Based Learning

Project-based learning is one of the collaborative approaches that focus on student-centered techniques to assist them in learning more about the given topic. Students usually work in groups and explore more about the given topic. This method is usually confused with Problem based learning since they have the same acronym (PBL).

When it comes to project-based learning, it enables the student to focus on examining problems that may not have a certain answer. These projects work their way around a given problem rather than as solutions in project based learning. In project based learning, there is no final product and the overall time allocation is on trying to solve a particular problem. Usually the activity is practiced in groups rather than individually. This method demands more discussions and research compared to project based learning.

Key Benefits and Disadvantages of Project Based Learning

There has always been a constant debate surrounding the use of project based learning methods. Below is a list of common advantages and pitfalls of the method.

Benefits of the Project

·         High Engagement

The project offers a higher rate of engagement to the students as it empowers them play an active role. Moreover, it keeps the student intrigued and interested throughout the project since it is relevant to real-world data. Also, it creates a healthy and sustainable class environment.

·         Effective Results

With the help of project based methods, the students are able to increase their knowledge retention significantly. There is plenty of
which supports the statement. These students also show plenty of improvements in the overall subject matter and have superior knowledge compared to rest.

·         Improved Critical Thinking Abilities

The overall impact of the project builds up the problem-solving abilities of the students. It happens as the students work on numerous exercises and projects on a range of subjects including mathematics. Therefore, it helps them build up their thinking and perform better in tests.

·         Collaboration

Since most of the project based learning projects happen in groups, the students are able to build meaningful relationships. They get to know how to work in groups, provide inputs, listen and help others. With the help of collaboration, the students can discuss important information and get more ideas.

·         More Opportunities to Explore Technology

Due to the avid research, project based learning requires plenty of in-depth research. It paves way the use of technology in the research. Students may use the help of internet and other online gadgets to gain more knowledge and incorporate them into their projects.

More Opportunities to Explore Technology

Disadvantages of Project Based Learning

·         Bias and Prejudice

Many experts have argued that since the practice and assessment is subjective, it may lead to a high chance of bias and discrimination. They emphasize that every assessment needs to be objective to ensure reliability of the result.

·         More Focus on Final Product

There are chances that whenever the students are working on these projects, it may divert their focus away from the learning process. If it happens, it will hinder their overall skill level and learning process. For the method to show its full potential, the students need to take the full process into the account.

·         Impractical in Several Scenarios

Some of the subjects such as math require high objectivity to bring the best out of the student. Dedicating a whole project to simple multiplication lesson will not prove effective at all. Some of these concepts require rigorous practice and drills before they cement in student’s minds.

Impractical in Several Scenarios

5 Project Based Examples for Students

It is not always easy to come up with a project that interests each and every student. Getting every student to work on these ideas may prove more difficult than it seems. Below, the teachers can find a few examples that may help them get an idea for project based learning.

  • Design Play Area
  • Creating Math Story
  • Inspiring Students to make their own Flags
  • Challenge Students to read and Discuss Poetry
  • Making their own Holliday

1.     Design play Area

This project may prove to be effective in improving the overall geometry and algebra skills of the students. With the help of this project, the children can make and design their own play area. There are plenty of free web applications on the internet that can assist them in designing their play area. Even a simple paper and pencil might do the trick.

 The focus should be on including certain shapes while designing the play area with mapping restrictions. It will expand their thinking and enable them to come up with different swings comprised of different shapes. A teacher can also assign the students with 3D shapes for better imagination.

2.     Creating a Math Story

Many students often find mathematics boring and dull. But the teachers can make it interesting with the help of a story. The teacher can ask the student to create a story using the different skills and concepts throughout the curriculum. By combining mathematics with numerical, the students might be able to learn different math concepts.

3.     Inspire Students to Make their own Flags

The students will need to learn about the flags of the world at some point. By learning about other countries, they can associate themselves with different country values, norms and cultures. By incorporating the information, the student should design their version of the flag and tell the story behind it.

4.     Challenge Students to Read and Discuss Poetry

Poetry and words show the artistic nature of the students. The first step that a teacher can adopt is to get the students familiarized with different forms of poetry. Then ask them to write their own version.

Additionally, the teachers can ensure that they include poets from around the world for a better understanding of the culture around the globe. Teachers can also encourage the students to read it in front of the class. It will also boost their confidence which is an integral part of project based learning.

Challenge Students to Read and Discuss Poetry

5.     Making their own Holiday

School have days off which relate to different religious and social holidays. The teacher can help the students in using the knowledge to create their own version of holiday. They might come up with exciting and interesting holidays of their own. Ask them to incorporate a reason behind the day as well.

Finally, the students can discuss their projects in groups. It will help them in receiving constructive criticism on their work and allow a healthy argument.

The students work to create their product themselves in natural settings with the reliable audience, which ticks all the requirements for project based learning.  Overall, the project helps the student develop critical thinking, improved communication skills, and boost their creativity.

Making their own Holiday

Final Thoughts

With the help of this guide, the teachers will be able to practice the project based learning much better. Moreover, it may prove to be helpful in creating interesting projects for the students. Remember, these projects have to student-centric for a successful implementation. It is not necessary to repeat the same projects others did in the past, sometimes using own imagination can be sufficient.