What is PBL?

Define Project Based Learning.  Describe the difference between Project Based Learning and Problem Based Learning.

Project Based Learning, or PBL, is defined by the Buck Institute for Education (BIE) as “a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge.”  Wikipedia defines Problem Based Learning as “a student-centered pedagogy in which students learn about a subject through the experience of solving an open-ended problem. Students learn both thinking strategies and domain knowledge.”  Project Based Learning and Problem Based Learning are very similar.  Both ideas use strategies that are engaging, student-centered, teacher facilitated, and where cooperative group work is used.  Project Based Learning typically begins with an end product in mind where Problem Based Learning begins with a real-life scenario or problem that needs to be solved.

Why should teachers consider incorporating PBL in their classroom?

Teachers are always looking for effective ways to teach.  It is a plus when learning is effective and fun which PBL can provide.  According to BIE, PBL is more engaging.  It improves learning and builds success for college, career, and life.  It can help address standards and it provides opportunities for students to use technology.  PBL can make teaching more enjoyable and rewarding.  It can connect students and schools with communities and the real world.

 What are the essential components of a PBL approach to instruction?

 The eight essential components of a PBL approach to instruction include the following:

  • Key Knowledge, Understanding, and Success Skills

  • A challenging problem or question

  • Sustained Inquiry

  • Authenticity

  • Student Voice and Choice

  • Reflection

  • Critique and Revision

  • Public Product

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