Project based learning is a one of a kind method of learning which enables a student to acquire an in-depth knowledge of a wide range of disciplines by overcoming challenges and learning new skills. It essentially centers around an idea and the much required preparing and planning on how to go about the same.
PBL can be divided into two 2 categories which can be further subcategorized into 7 divisions each. The first category is referred to as The 7 Phase Model and it consists of the following:
- Introduction of the Driving Question: Introduce the students to a driving or an ‘essential’ question. This question is usually open-ended, compelling and based on a real world issues, which the students are required to answer before any instruction is given to them.
- Induction of the Culminating Challenge: Culminating challenge refers to a veritable assessment or presentation to a student demonstrating learning of the subject matter. This can be done via a discussion, website development, election simulation etc.
- Developing Subject Matter Expertise: Students are required to become experts in the subject matter through inquiry methods. They are provided with background information but are also required to explore new concepts
- Execution of the Culminating Challenge: Students demonstrate their new ‘expertise’ or learning of the concept to a teacher. Better judgment and guidance can be given if a subject matter expert or professional is brought in to critique the students on their quality of work.
- Debriefing Culminating Challenge: Debriefing or cross examining enables students to reflect on their project by writing assessments or general discussions. The opinion of a teacher or subject matter expert can also help in authentic and immediate feedback for a successful delivery.
- Responding to Driving Question: Asking students to respond to the driving question once again after assessment will make them have a deeper understanding of the new concept and enable them to see the difference in the quality of their new and old responses (if any) and better acknowledge their learning.
- Summative Assessment: A summative assessment is an important way to measure student learning. It is a measure of student proficiency on the acquired skills and concept.
The second category is called The 7 Essentials and it consists of the following:
- Knowledge as a Prerequisite: Provide students with the basic idea of a particular concept, in the form of audio-visual aids, by a guest speaker, a field trip or a general discussion for catching the interest of the student and better understanding.
- A Driving Question: A driving question is the hardest step and forms an effective part of a PBL. It is an open ended, abstract question with a purpose aimed at making a concept clear. It is developed while the students are brainstorming solutions.
- Student Opinions and Choices: This helps in making the project riveting and more meaningful. Students can feel free in selecting materials for reading, research topics and also a wide range of web tools, kits and brochures, which would anchor their learning process.
- Technology as the Linchpin: One of the main purposes of PBL is to instill the 4 C’s or the 21st century skills in the students – critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication. This can be achieved through extensive research and experience and have to be well planned and managed, in order to avoid sacrificing academic rigor.
- Inquiry and Innovation: The students are required to research thoroughly or ask questions related to their project. Information can be gained by the teachers, publications, various websites and professionals. Finding answers paves the way for raising new questions and are beneficial for the completion of the project.
- Assessment and Emendation: Feedback and revision during the learning process from peers, and or adult mentors or via exemplars, rubrics, helps the students to create high quality project.
- Product Publicity: The culmination of the project requires the students to present their final products to an audience which includes teachers, peers and parents, professionals and the global community to an extent. It further helps in motivating the students to create high-end products and develop individually.
Strategum Eduserve Pvt. Ltd a Bengaluru based Education Consultancy has helped several schools and teachers implement Project Based Learning methods in their school curriculum. Strategum is a leader in School Management and Set-up. Get in touch with us for a free session to understand how your school can become a 21st century School.