What is Project Based Learning?

Project Based Learning (PBL) is a teaching strategy in which students acquire knowledge by working over a longer period of time on a project.  They may have to answer an in-depth question, undertake an investigation or complete a challenge.


Image courtesy of emergingedtech.com


What is required of the educator during PBL?

  • Assigning learning goals.
  • Directing students to a meaningful point of study.
  • Setting work at a suitable level.
  • Resourcing.
  • Helping create ‘real-life’, authentic challenges.
  • Critiquing work.
  • Assisting reflective practise.
  • Supporting students to find ways to display end products to a wider audience.

What attributes do learners need?

  • Self-determination.
  • Openness to new ideas.
  • Collaboration.
  • Editing.
  • Self-management.
  • Problem solving.
  • Critical thinking skills.
  • Ability to seek help and ask questions.
  • Academic honesty.
  • Decision making.
  • Reflection.
  • Revision skills.
  • Finding ways to display their work to a wider audience.

What are the pros and cons of PBL?

Positives Negatives
Pupils are engaged and motivated in their learning because they are self-driven. Pupils find it hard to self-motivate and rely on teacher guidance too much.
Students learn about subjects that they are genuinely interested in and could impact on their future. Students don’t do enough work.
Develops cooperative skills. Plagiarism.
Teachers become facilitators. Students find it difficult to work collaboratively.
Improves evaluative skills. Some pupils show a lack of accountability.
Creativity skills are developed. Admitting that help is needed can be a difficult aspect for students to understand.

Students feel a great sense of achievement if PBL is carried out effectively and for this to happen requires effort from both the teacher and pupil.  It is great to see an excellent project BUT ALSO the acquired knowledge the learner has taken on during the period of learning.

Have you done a lot of PBL?  How did it go?  Did you counter any problems?  Let me know by commenting below.




  1. Per questions stated above…

    * Have you done a lot of PBL?
    * How did it go?
    * Did you counter any problems?
    * Let me know by commenting below.

    I began working as an educator in 1978. Over the years, I have come to believe authentic learning projects have great power/value for engaging students and for use in guiding students to more fully and naturally explore and apply a wide range of common core knowledge and skills. This belief has led me to develop a curricular sequence of 14 project based, STEaM Oriented and aquatic ecosystem themed learning activities called: ‘Beyond the Classroom Aquarium.’ #BtheCA project activities have been carefully sequenced, structured and self-published, and more info about #BtheCA is available at robertjakus.com and through Createspace.com. I’m currently working to establish a project demonstration space in which to provide #BtheCA related weeklong PD workshops for educators.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi there, the struggle that I have with PBL is making it accessible (especially the research stage) to all learners no matter what their reading ability is. I struggling fit my ESL learners into this approach. Has anyone incorporated them into the learning or have you opted for a secondary program or project for them??


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