What is Project-Based Learning?

What Is Project-Based Learning?

Project-based learning (PBL) is a teaching method that seeks to replicate real-world scenarios so students can better understand how lessons in the classroom translate after school. Classrooms that implement various PBL practices in early education see improved student achievement in low-performing school districts. PBL can also improve success throughout college for students who experience its tactics early in their degree track. PBL techniques involve asking and answering specific questions within the context of a thoughtfully crafted schedule, and precise metrics help to assess student progress. Teachers base their plans around students' practical needs so they develop a meaningful understanding of the material and the skills to apply the lessons in the future.

What Makes Project-Based Learning Unique?

Project-based learning is distinct from traditional teaching models in its approach to applying classroom lessons. Where a typical lesson plan will introduce the material in a lecture or presentation then use small-scale projects as a way to reinforce the concepts, PBL uses a different approach. In PBL, the project is the primary teaching strategy rather than a supplement. Teachers will treat every day like a part of a larger project, allowing students to focus their learning on long-term goals and practical assignments that work toward them.

In PBL classrooms, instructors create relevant teaching moments within the steps of an engaging project. Because the project itself is based on real-world scenarios, it enables the instructor to find the most useful opportunities to help their students grow. As a result, students utilize more 21st-century skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and more.

Project based learning at a private school in Maryland

Benefits of Project-Based Learning

PBL's hands-on approach to education engages students of all ages and better prepares them for life. Implementing PBL in the classroom positions students to:

  • Foster critical thinking skills: In PBL, students find themselves in situations that require them to analyze problems closely, ask thoughtful questions and determine the best solution in real-time.
  • Exercise creative problem-solving: When students engage in activities that they find meaningful, they'll meet problems with their full creative force. As a result, students find unique ways to innovate and resolve problems in a fulfilling way.
  • Enhance collaboration and communication skills: PBL gives students more time to interact with one another in real-world scenarios as opposed to long lectures. Students will work together with their classmates and instructors to develop solutions, negotiate disagreements and foster a better understanding of different cultural backgrounds.
  • Persevere through adversity: Because PBL places students in life-like scenarios, they'll face challenging obstacles that push their creative and intellectual limits. Occasionally, students will experience failure, but their instructors and classmates will help them learn and improve over time.
  • Develop deeper comprehension of the material: When students fully immerse themselves in their studies through meaningful projects rather than fact memorization, they'll ultimately gain a more complete understanding of the material that they'll retain longer.

See Real Growth at St. Pauls

Project-based learning in Maryland can have a lasting impact on students. For more information on how PBL can benefit your student, contact the St. Paul's offices today!