Three Key Elements That Make High-Quality Project-Based Learning Exemplary
A High Quality Work Knowledgebase Stands Out
Although students need project-based learning to retain more information, students can get lost in learning tasks they don’t like. This may stop them from progressing and causes them to fall behind, according to a 2009 paper published in The American Journal of Educational Psychology.
The findings offer guidance for high-quality project-based learning environments:
Students in a “good,” “good” to “great” project-based learning environment have six key elements in common. Here they are:
Students go into a well-designed space with lots of resources and projects, such as clusters of project-based activities or three to four different activities to choose from.
Classrooms have enough computers and digital resources so that students can explore ideas faster and more easily.
The interaction with teachers is enjoyable and interesting.
Teachers help students understand the value of being creative and thinking differently.
Teachers ask questions and participants respond with questions.
Teachers use examples from diverse experiences and contexts.
Students learn clearly and diligently, and they reflect on what they learned while using projects or activities.
Visual stimuli boost students’ ability to understand complex ideas.
Students are interested in learning projects that allow them to explore different aspects of the content they have learned.
Planning for Learning With Others, When “It Makes Sense To Fail”
In cooperation with the successful project-based learning project-based learning study and other research, high school students across the country developed five tools for high-quality project-based learning:
1. Project Memory: The seven or more critical elements that students associate with success.
2. Project Longitude: Practical modeling, review, and presentation of projects
3. Project Work Schedule: How to assess progress toward learning goals
4. Project Visualization: Visual activities
5. Project Advantages: A performance-based classification of projects by benefits they provide to students
When completing a project, students learn by doing, with others and alone. For example, in World Class Academies’ California Schools’ project-based learning program, “success” is measured not by grades, but by the number of hours of learning gained by students. In the classroom, success can also be quantified. In a world class schools’ program, a project can be any length; it is all about action planning, reading, collaborating, engaging with others and completing assignments. While “failure” may be defined differently by schools across the country, “it makes sense to fail,” as another study indicates. “In just a few cases, some programs fail, but generally they fail only if they do not emphasize the importance of learning from failure. This would not happen if students were not working in an environment with different lessons, settings and courses,” states the World Class Academy study. Parents also have a role in helping students to learn best project-based learning, because it is difficult for parents and students to share information regarding project assignments, timelines and multiple projects.