Why project based learning?
It should come as no surprise that the best types of learning are experiential, student-directed, and hands-on. As teachers, we constantly look for opportunities to enrich curriculum to take advantage of this, incorporating labs, field trips, and group work to make learning more meaningful. The “project” is the classic example of such learning, where students are presented with an opportunity to direct their own summative inquiry into the curriculum.
However, does a project really reflect the types of learning that appear to work best? Just as what students learn is essential, how they learn is equally important. In many ways, the process of learning is worth just as much consideration as the outcomes.
This is seen nearly every day in the 21st century workplace. Employees are never asked to find specific pieces of information, nor are they given step-by-step instructions to arrive at a product. Instead, we are presented with a problem and required to find a solution given a set of parameters, resources, and budgets. As teachers, we are all too familiar with this process. In fact, teaching itself is one big PBL!