Project study learning (or project-based learning, briefly referred to as PBL) is a new educational trend. This is a teaching method which is designed for students to help them get knowledge and skills by investigating and responding to complex questions or challenges in a certain period of time.
A typical project design should include the following components:
- Key Knowledge – PBL is targeted at student learning goals. It also includes standard content and skills, for example, critical problem solving or nonstandard thinking, collaboration, and self-management, which is also required for self-learning.
- Challenging Problem – The project is supposed to be about a meaningful problem which student should solve. This also may be a question at a certain level of challenge.
- Sustained Inquiry – Students participate in asking-questions process, they find resources, and learn how to use this information.
- Authenticity – The project study learning allows students to work in a real-world context.
- Student Voice & Choice – Students make their own decisions about the project.
- Reflection – Students and teachers analyze results of their research and project activities.
- Public Product – Students should present their project in front of the class, which entails establishing contacts with public.
How a Good Project Should Look Like
The main idea of project study is capturing students’ interest by focusing on a real-world problem (or problems). This might stimulate intensive thinking when students apply new knowledge to overcome some obstacles on their way. This might improve student’s ‘reasoning system’ and help solve problems in real life.
A good project should fulfill two criteria. The first one is when a student considers the project as personally meaningful, as the task that matters and that he/she wants to do well. The second one means that the project should fulfill an educational purpose.
Some people criticize PBL saying that it is inappropriate for Maths. Making a project in mathematics doesn’t give necessary practice or help students obtain good mathematical skills. The same is true for some other subjects.
On the one hand, making a project will not give the knowledge that students are supposed to get. But on the other hand, project-based learning may become on an effective way to improve gained skills and knowledge.
There is another problem about PBL. Project is difficult to measure as well as define standard assessment criteria to evaluate successes or failures of project.
The experience of many teachers across the globe and at all grade levels and subjects, shows that PBL is an effective and interactive way to learn or enhance student skills. This is also the way to hone these skills in practice and let students solve real-world problems. That’s why so many teachers across the USA and other countries are interested in PBL.