Why project-based learning?

Learn how project-based learning benefits students, teachers, administrators, and parents.

Why Project-Based Learning?

We live in a world where knowledge has become ubiquitous. It’s everywhere. The ever-growing list of technologies that populate our world has made it easier than ever for people to consume information that’s important to them. This shift in knowledge access is changing the way society operates and, as a result, is forcing us to change the way we deliver education.

It’s no longer enough just to “know stuff” or to master the fundamental skills of reading and writing. Of course, that’s still vitally important. But of equal importance is owning a set of complex skills that go beyond straight facts – skills that are necessary to succeed in today’s world – teamwork, critical thinking, communication, decision-making, etc. That’s the primary benefit of project-based learning. It combines traditional classroom knowledge with real-world expertise and skills to better prepare students for success.

Benefits of project-based learning for students:

  • Greater control over what and how they learn – Teachers set parameters for each project and the students are free to propose their own ideas, pending their teacher’s approval.
  • A sense of educational ownership – Because they have greater control over what and how they learn, students often feel more invested and responsible for their work. Project-based learning also makes it easier for students to learn at a pace that’s comfortable for them.
  • Acquisition of complex, real-world skills – Project-based learning teaches students about teamwork, critical thinking, communication, decision-making, time management, public speaking, organization, social behavior and more.
  • An audience with their teachers – The traditional classroom lecture model is all about listening. The teacher lectures and the students absorb. A key advantage of project-based learning is that each student has more one-on-one time with their instructors to ask questions and share ideas.
  • Hands-on, “fun” learning – Project-based learning requires a level of participation not seen in the traditional classroom, giving students a higher level of stimulation and a greater role in the educational process.
  • Project portfolios that go beyond paper – Whether it’s made up of videos, products, photographs, multimedia presentations, books, gadgets or, yes, paper, project portfolios are the end result of years of project-based learning. Students can easily show off their hard work. And with tools like Project Foundry®, portfolios are maintained online and can be securely distributed with the click of a button.

Benefits of project-based learning for teachers:

  • Greater student interaction – Traditional classroom learning involves a teacher more or less speaking to his or her students with little interaction other than to ask or answer a periodic question. Project-based learning puts the teacher into more of a facilitator role that allows for greater dialogue with each individual student.
  • Insight into student motivators – With each new project that’s proposed and presented, teachers receive a glimpse into the interests, passions and motivators of their students. Everything about a given project – the topic that’s selected, how it’s presented, how students works with others, where they pull their research from – gives teachers crucial information about the learning habits of their class.
  • No longer an army of one – The assessment process in a project-based learning setting usually involves more than just the opinion of the teacher and often times includes other instructors and even peers of the student. Project Foundry’s® intuitive, web-based project-management tool gives teachers an easy way to manage all of that feedback so that it can be best absorbed by them and their students.
  • Going beyond the classroom – Another benefit of project-based learning is the ability to draw in resources from the entire school and even the community. Learning is no longer confined to the walls of the classroom, but rather is conducted on a more boundaryless scale, giving teachers an even greater pool of assets to work with.

Other benefits of project-based learning:

  • Administrators see results – With the ever-increasing pressure to raise performance standards in school, PBL helps to engage students’ intrinsic motivation to learn and, in turn, increase performance. School leaders are also able to tout curriculums that incorporate school-wide learning.
  • Good for the parents, too – With tools like Project Foundry®, parents can see information on their child’s educational progress that a traditional report card can’t provide.
  • Community involvement – As we mentioned above, because PBL often takes students outside of the classroom, a school’s surrounding community quickly becomes an educational resource. Community leaders and places of interest can be tremendous resources for various student projects, and can also be beneficiaries of student work.