PBL: Investigating the Practical Implementation of Project-Based Learning in Classrooms
MindShift article provides a description of how Project-Based Learning (PBL) has been designed to provide academics with the necessary challenge while serving the school’s curriculum and instructional needs.
(York, PA) Helping students face and control issues that cause poor behavior or disrupting class work has been the goal of teachers and school administrators for years. Many projects that students undertake or participate in are designed to do just that, address how to deal with challenging areas of study. However, research has consistently shown that creating assignments that make learning challenging is not enough – learning itself has to be supported and encouraged. Research and teacher training has also shown that in order to effectively implement PBLs in a school, they must be successfully applied in a learning situation so that all students will actually learn what is necessary to become successful at the work.
There are several benefits of implementing an effective PBLs model in your classrooms. The simple definition of PBL is “interactive learning that focuses on the issues and issues at hand”. Each student starts with a plan and provides a detailed answer based on the specific task at hand. All of the work or activity provided are challenges or problems; however, this model is designed to offer students a tangible solution and example. Teachers will be able to document the ability of students to work together in groups on the project and identify the strengths and areas of improvement that need to be improved.
So how does it work?
The assumption is that there are three learning styles – individual, cooperative, and relevant – that all students learn in different ways. The focus of PBL is on supporting each student’s individual learning styles and recognizing how they need to interact with the assigned activity to accomplish a task. Each student has a unique learning style and personal goals and capabilities, and is expected to figure out a solution to meet those goals in a collaborative, community-based way.
As I stated, research shows that PBL is only effective if students actively use the assignment and understand the tools and resources needed to complete the assignment. As such, organizations that specialize in implementing the model have methods and strategies to measure the effectiveness of the model’s effectiveness by identifying students’ levels of engagement, understanding, and knowing their problem solving skills. I created a template (Structured Conversations (SVC) Brief) to outline some of the key purposes of PBL, how the project and related work is implemented, and how it can support the student and be a successful learning environment. SVC Brief is a powerful tool that you can use to understand how to better promote effective, learner-centered learning in your classroom.
To learn more about project-based learning and what it can offer your student, you may want to check out “Working with Data and Culture: Why the New School is PBL”.