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Students learn new knowledge through group collaboration and research. For it then be applied to solve authentic world problems and produce results that matters and makes sense to them. Project-based learning is an inductive way of teaching by engaging students to investigate within content-based information to discover the new knowledge. The framework is design for students to look for solutions, decide which is best and create or come up with their own findings to solve or give answers to the problem presented or questions posed by the teacher.
The teacher starts by introducing a topic through an authentic world problem to start students off on asking and refining the questions as they debate ideas, make predictions, design plans and conduct experiments to be able to collect and analyze data and content. Finally, they draw conclusions as they communicate their ideas and findings to others, where they themselves can decide if they have to start the process anew by asking new questions to create a completed project. In short, the basis of PBL lies in the authenticity of a real-life application of research. Students must work in a team as they are given a problem and through discussion, they create a “driving question” to respond to and are asked to create a project to present their newly gained knowledge.
With the implementation of its strategies within the classroom which includes a greater depth of understanding of concepts to broaden students’ knowledge and ask questions. Where through improved communication and interpersonal/social skills, students can discuss and deliberate about the found content and make concise decision. While enhancing leadership skills, increasing creativity and improve writing skills through presenting their completed project.
Furthermore, project-based learning includes a type of direction, where students work together to solve real-world problems in their schools and communities. This way it helps prepare them for the real world and its work force. Successful problem-solving often involves students to draw on lessons from several ideas, knowledge, skills, tools and information to apply them in a very practical way. The prospect of seeing or giving a presentation have a very real impact as it becomes the motivation for learning and succeeding.
Project-based learning emphasizes learning activities that are long-term and self-study while working in a group. Unlike traditional, teacher-based classroom activities, students often must organize their own work and manage their own time in a project-based setting. Project-based instructions are different from traditional classroom teachings by its importance on students’ collaborative project construction to be presented.
Project-based learning also gives students the opportunity to explore problems and challenges that have real-world requirements and expectations that increases the possibility of long-term retention of skills and ideas. Since, they discover the answers themselves and learn how to apply their knowledge and skills.
The idea behind project-based learning is the making use of real-world problems to capture the students’ interest and provoke serious thinking as the students acquire and apply new knowledge in a problem-solving context through time-management and research.
The teacher plays the role of facilitator, working with students to create deciding questions, structuring meaningful tasks, coaching both knowledge development and social skills, while carefully assessing what students have learned from their experiences. Typical projects present a problem to solve or an issue to investigate. PBL replaces traditional models of curriculum teaching such as lecture, textbook-workbook activities and inquiry as it requires the students to choose a variety of materials and tools.
It is an instructional framework which allows teachers to facilitate and assess deeper understanding rather than stand and deliver factual information. That is how students develop problem solving skills and creative making of projects to communicate a deeper understanding of certain perceptions, work ethics and mastery of 21st Century essential requirements as critical thinking and developing a disciplined work attitude. Students become active researchers and assessors of their own learning as the facilitator guides students’ learning so that students learn from the project making processes.
In this context, PBL is a curriculum of self-directed learning from students’ doing or making throughout the unit. PBL is not just “an activity” (project) that is stuck on the end of a lesson plan or curriculum.
PBL relies on learning groups while Projects can be done individually
Student groups determine their projects, in so doing, they ask students’ participation by encouraging students to take full responsibility of their learning. This is what makes PBL different from Projects as the students work together to accomplish specific goals.
When students use technology as a tool to communicate with others, they take on an active role vs. a passive role of transmitting the information by a teacher, a book, or broadcast. The student is constantly making choices on how to obtain, display, or manipulate information, while discussing and making use of their critical thinking skills to pick and choice what is best for them. Same goes for projects, yet it lacks the chance to utilize others’ knowledge, information, ideas and opinions. Technology makes it possible for students to think actively about the choices they make and execute. Every student has the opportunity to bring something to the table to fulfill their roll within their group.
The teacher no longer plays an instructor role in Project Based Learning, but of a facilitator, hence the earlier description. It is not of relinquishing control of the classroom or student learning but rather develop an atmosphere of shared responsibility. As the Instructor must structure the proposed question/issue so as to direct the student’s learning toward content-based materials. While for projects the teacher must create guidelines and frameworks for the students to work within to collectively come to the same project or answers as they leave the students up to their own individual devises to design a project they can present with the same information or answer.
For PBL the facilitator must regulate student success with intermittent, transitional goals to ensure student projects remain focused and students have a deep understanding of the concepts being investigated, discovered and discussed. The students are held accountable to these goals through ongoing feedback and assessments from the facilitator. The ongoing assessment and feedback are essential to ensure the students stay within the framework of the driving question and the core standards of the project.
The facilitator need to be able to track and monitor ongoing formative assessments, that show work toward that standard as they use these assessments to guide the inquiry process and ensure the students have learned the required content. Once the project is finished, the instructor evaluates the finished product and learning that it demonstrates. While individual projects are summative assessed and displays the students’ acquired knowledge sans their learning process. The teacher can only determine the students level of critical thinking skills through marking the end product/project.
Student role is to ask questions, build knowledge, and determine a real-world solution to the issue/question presented. Students must collaborate expanding their active listening skills and requiring them to engage in intelligent focused communication. Therefore, allowing them to think rationally on how to solve problems. PBL forces students to take ownership of their success. While Projects are mainly used to show the students’ acquired knowledge at the end of the curriculum and their success depends on their capabilities of presenting such acquired knowledge and without developing any further skills.
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