“It’s not just learning that’s important. It’s learning what to do with what you learn and learning why you learn things that matters” -Norton Juster
So, what’s the idea behind project-based learning? Most educators would agree all learning activities require some form of project as a result. Although that idea is not inaccurate, there’s some truth to the idea that project-based learning takes a different approach in the classroom.
Project-based learning (PBL) teaches students skills that they can use later in life such as collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity. Students in PBL environments are prepared for the ever-changing workplace because they’ve learned how to manage uncertainty, take responsibility for their learning, and solve complex problems. It’s also an important learning tool for our youth because it prepares students for the real world and the challenges that they will face as they become thriving adults in society.
What’s so astonishing is that research shows that project-based learning is beneficial for all students. No student is left without a valuable life lesson when exposed to project-based learning in their curriculum. By actively engaging students in their learning and putting them in charge, project-based learning encourages students to address challenging problems head on or questions through a reflective process developing solutions for an authentic audience. This requires a focus on self-directed learning that can help students identify career paths that most interest them and really zone in on their natural skills and talent.
Learning skills for life
An educator from leaderinme.org explains it best: “Engaging in project-based learning has transformed my classroom environment and the learning experiences of my students for the better. I only have so much time each year to develop a love of learning, get students to believe in themselves, enhance their leadership skills, challenge them to discover the joy in productive struggle, build off their natural curiosity, develop their critical thinking skills, create powerful collaborative experiences, get them to own their learning, and help them discover potential far beyond what they see in themselves. I value the time I have, and it’s important I make the most of it! Project-based learning gives me the opportunity to combine the curriculum with instilling these necessary life skills.”
Project-based learning in classrooms will help students develop the skills that employers are looking for. Students are given the opportunity to learn, discover, and create throughout the entire learning process. According to the Buck Institute for Education, “project-based learning is 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.”
It is our mission to continuously empower and motivate our students and educators in the classrooms. A growing library of audio and visual podcasts with supporting materials, designed to help teachers open up conversations about big issues with their students are available on the Design for Change (DFC) platform. The podcasts further help students learn about a variety of issues connected to the UN Global Goals, building their empathy and motivation to take action.
Kids today are counting on us to come through for them. That’s why we encourage educators to use and customize Design for Change (DFC) lesson plans on our platform. 91% of teachers surveyed report that DFC increased students' self-motivation to complete tasks and persist through obstacles. Let’s show them that learning IS fun, that working with others and believing in each other helps us achieve far more than we could ever achieve on our own and show them they are exponentially more capable than they ever believed they were. Start today. The DFC platform opens students up to learning and teaches them skills that will help them navigate their way through a complicated world.
As many past studies have shown, PBL benefits students by providing opportunities for deep learning and skill development by addressing real and relevant challenges. Compared to traditional instruction, PBL is an important way to make sure that our students have the best chance for success in school and for developing a love of learning that will last a lifetime. Let’s bring the gift of PBL to our students with the DFC platform and resources. It’s a lifetime lesson and experience they’ll never forget.