Sep 10

Project-based learning (PBL)

Project-based learning (PBL) is a model that organizes learning around projects. According to the definitions found in PBL handbooks for teachers, projects are complex tasks, based on challenging questions or problems, that involve students in design, problem-solving, decision making, or investigative activities; give students the opportunity to work relatively autonomously over extended periods of time; and culminate in realistic products or presentations (Jones, Rasmussen, & Moffitt, 1997; Thomas, Mergendoller, & Michaelson, 1999).  Other defining features found in the literature include authentic content, authentic assessment, teacher facilitation but not direction, explicit educational goals, (Moursund, 1999), cooperative learning, reflection, and incorporation of adult skills (Diehl, Grobe, Lopez, & Cabral, 1999).  To these features, particular models of PBL add a number of unique features. Definitions of “project-based instruction” include features relating to the use of an authentic (“driving”) question, a community of inquiry, and the use of cognitive (technology-based) tools (Krajcik, Blumenfeld, Marx, & Soloway, 1994; Marx, Blumenfeld, Krajcik, Blunk, Crawford, Kelly, & Meyer, 1994 ); and “Expeditionary Learning” adds features of comprehensive school improvement, community service, and multidisciplinary themes (Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound, 1999a)

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