“If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn”

–    Ignacio Estrada

Education is the first step towards success and when it comes to preparing students for the future, education becomes the major concern. Institutions and Schools are continuously making efforts to attract student’s attention more towards education. You all have witnessed that how the traditional classroom based learning is being challenged by the increasing complexity of the world and our lives. To overcome this snag in education, schools are introducing many different approaches to continue the flow of knowledge from generation to generation. After e-learning, MOOCs, Constructivist learning, Competency based education and vocational training, institutions have introduced a new approach- PROJECT BASED LEARNING

 

WHAT IS PROJECT BASED LEARNING?

Project based learning is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students are given real world problems and to find the solution they investigate, explore the world, research and engage in small collaborative groups. This type of learning helps students gain the skills and motivation needed to succeed in the complex world around us.

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

–    Confucius

Say, for example, several earthquakes occurred from 2010-2017 and your teacher wants to know why? You are a group of 4 students and you have given a time period of 3 days to come up with the reason behind this natural calamity. To find the cause; you will have to research, investigate, check the information available on different websites, locate the areas of the earthquake on a map and find patterns between them, talk to different seismologist for their opinions and then you will synthesize your data, evaluate it and make a report of your analysis.

Isn’t it much better than reading about the earthquake and their causes from an expensive book and take an exam to give a proof of the knowledge you have gain?

 

Types of Project Based Learning

Project based learning is gaining popularity all around the globe.  This is because of its approach to learning through solving real world problems. The projects come in many sizes and shapes and on this basis PBL is categorized into 3 different types.

  • Challenge Based Learning/ Problem Based Learning
  • Place Based Learning
  • Activity Based Learning

 

Advantages of Project Based Learning

Once Richard Branson said, “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” Project based learning works on the same principle of learning by doing it over and over again until and unless you get the solution of your problem. Let’s discuss some of the advantages of this learning approach.

project based learning

Long-Term Knowledge Retention

It is very necessary for students to retain what they have learned in the classroom, but most of them forget every lesson as they move to the next grade. The only way to retain knowledge is to learn by sharing ideas and facts through answering questions and discussions.

Project Based Learning improves the ability to retain and recall by encouraging students to discuss new findings and learning in the group as well as in class.

Continuous Engagement

Project Based Learning is total interest based and due to this, it acts as a break from common exercises and normal lessons. Students engage and collaborate to solve real world problems that result in increased student attendance and better attitudes towards education.

Transferable Skills

The skills develop by solving problems in PBL can easily be transfer to real world scenarios. Students will be able to apply learning if they eventually face the same problem in real life. Say, for example, if you work together to address a dispute within the class, you may develop lifelong skills related to negotiation and communicating your ideas with others.

Teamwork

“Together we stand, Divided we fall,” This phrase says everything. Project Based learning teaches students to be a team player. It makes them capable of working with a group. This will serve them well when they enter higher education levels and, eventually, the real working world.

Self-directed Learning Skills

Project Based learning encourages students to take your own decision. Unlike the traditional learning, here teacher’s role is just limited to a guiding hand. Students have to decide which path will take them to the answer of their problem. Such skills and knowledge will boost up their confidence and motivate them to take up an initiative on their own.

 

Why do we Need Project Based Learning ?

Project based learning is about engaged and active learning, which encourage students to gain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they are studying. But why is it better than traditional learning? Here are the 10 reasons to promote project based learning in classrooms.

It Improves Interpersonal Communication Skills

Project based learning often involves finding answers to complex and tricky problems. Students need to gather data or information through surveys, interviews, questioning and by various methods which require communication with other people. Communication with people allows students to boost up their interacting skills and helps in eliminating their fear of people.

After collecting information, the next step is to evaluate and analyze the data in order to reach a conclusion. To investigate and make a report is only possible by a healthy communication within the group members. In the entire process or different stages of the project, students improve their interpersonal communication skills.

It Promotes Creativity

Creativity is one of the primary aspects of learning. Project based learning develops greater depth of understanding of the real world problems and it promotes creativity in students required to solve those problems. Every problem requires a new approach and some analytical skills to understand the concept.

These real world challenges are more capable of drawing their attention to provoke the required level of creativity to apply new concepts in a problem-solving context. The very first quality people see while hiring an employee for their organization is the creativity.

It Open up Career Opportunities

When students address real world problems, they explore the world around them. The world which is full of opportunities and possibilities for a bright and successful future. While a student research to reach the answer of his question, he discovers the potential career areas for him. Project based learning allows the student to connect with the real world.

Say, for example, a student is working on a project- ‘Reasons behind increasing unemployment in the world” and after extensive research, he comes up with some real facts and schemes to decrease the rate of unemployment, and eventually, eradicate poverty and hunger. His teacher gives him an opportunity to get outside of the classroom and step into the real world with the project in his hand to explore the endless career opportunities.

It Provides Lifelong Learning

If you want to learn a skill, practice it! We all are human beings and it is very natural to forget something we read four years ago. A student will not learn basketball rules by reading them a million times, but his mind will memorize them if he plays the game even for a month only.

Every project a student does, helps him to learn something new. Students begin to connect their learning to solve actual problems and here they lay the foundations of their lifelong learning. ‘The more you do, the more you learn. The more you imply, the more you memorize’

You can’t learn to make food without cooking by your own. Once you learn by yourself, you will never forget the recipe for the lifetime. This is what project based learning teach us.

It Ameliorates Problem Solving Skills

The world moves, technology advances, society changes, people grow up, and the only thing that is stable in this life is problems. At every stage of life, you will have to face some problems and find out ways to overpass them. If you want students to become a problem solver, give them projects of problems related to the real world. The issues your society is facing from a very long time and let them learn by solving actual issues.

Will this enhance their problem-solving skills? There is no doubt in this; also, they might come up with some better ways to solve problems related to their personal interests. Have you ever solved mathematical problems? Do you know the key to solve them? Yes, you are right! Solve as many problems as you can. Solving more problems will clear your concept and in future, you will not find difficulty in solving those types of problems.

In PBL students work to find an answer for complex problems and at every next step, they improve their ability to solve problems.

It Encourages Active Learning

Project based learning provides a platform for students to take decisions without the help of teachers. The role of the teacher in PBL is limited to giving guidelines. It allows students to participate directly and learn by their own mistakes and decisions.

Students actively seek knowledge and life lessons rather than depending on passive knowledge from their teachers. It not only helps students to actively participating in class but also helps teachers in observing the behavior of students. In PBL students are responsible for their own success.

It Judges Actual Knowledge

Project based learning requires in depth knowledge and experience to solve problems. Both the things come with determination, practice, hard work and skills. To work on real world problem-based project, a student should have the capability to observe, survey, investigate, evaluate and analyze the information. Teachers can also judge the development of students through their approach of working on a project.

In contrast to Project based learning, the traditional classroom based learning limits the knowledge of students to books and theories. You cannot judge a student’s capabilities on the basis of some memorized answers on a sheet of paper. Project based learning is a bliss for students who study to get knowledge, not marks.

It Builds up Portfolios

What requires getting a good job? I guess skills, capabilities, talent, hard work, and a strong portfolio. Project based learning offers students to work on a project and those projects become part of their portfolios. Students can add these projects to their resume and raise their chances to get select.

Technology has created opportunities for students to publish their work on different websites, LinkedIn, YouTube and can create an online portfolio to get easily recognized by the recruiters.

Technology Inclusion

In this 21st century, it is impossible to ignore the importance of technology in the field of education. From Smart phones to laptops technology is available everywhere. Project based learning is an effective modern way of education. It involves the use of technology on every stage the projects.

Students do research through the internet, Collect data with cameras or GoPro, Discuss by using interactive whiteboards, Take notes with Smart markers, and make the report on laptops. Students are moving towards technology and PBL helps them to use it in an impressive way.

The Fun Factor

According to the OECD, only 75% of American students get a high school degree, and 63% of the graduate North Americans report being bored or disaffected by the school. So why not make learning interesting and fun? Project based learning demonstrate that learning can be fun. When things are fun, our brain functions properly and grasp information easily.

Students cannot learn lessons with stress and fear. Even if they do, their mind will not process it for a long time. Keeping this in mind, project based learning engages students in fun based activities.

 

The Future of Project Based Learning

According to Ben Johnson, a career educator, “Great teachers do not teach. They stack the deck so that students have a reason to learn and in the process can’t help but learn mainly by teaching themselves. This knowledge then becomes permanent and cherished rather than illusory and irrelevant.”

“The best way of learning about anything is by doing”

–    Richard Bach

It is the proven fact that Project Based Learning prepares the student for future through teaching them to face real life problems and challenges. It is already gaining popularity in Australia and that day is not very far when Project Based Learning will role the Education world.

 

THE FINAL NOTE

Since 19th-century, society has been completely changed, but our teaching methods have not. The pen and paper, worksheets, homework, quizzes, reading and rote memorization are the reasons behind the lack of interest of this generation in education. Today, in the name of education, students are getting knowledge from the internet and a degree from distance courses.

To break this chain, John Dewey had promoted the concept of “learning by doing”, which is popularly known as Project Based Learning. There are countless examples to prove the fact that learning by doing easy to retain rather than learning by reading. Moreover, in the rapidly changing technological culture, we need to prepare students for an uncertain future. All these goals can only be achieved if we eliminate the traditional classroom based education with some modern approaches of teachings like Project Based Learning.

“Learning is an active process. We learn by doing… Only knowledge that is used sticks in your mind”

–    Dale Carnegie

Share