Understanding Project-Based Learning
Teachers are diversifying teaching modes to ensure a better understanding of topics and the acquisition of skill sets. One of the methods they have resorted to involves Project-Based Learning. What does it entail? How effective is it? If you are a learner or parent, review this article as it debunks the learning mode and what it encompasses.
This mode of education or learning prays extra attention to building and nurturing the learner’s skills through fostering hands-on projects and active engagement. This learning model focuses more on the student by keeping up with their pace, establishing their challenges, and helping them overcome glitches.
Project-Based Learning also focuses on key elements such as the student’s communication skills, critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving abilities. Learners deal with real-life problems and utilize their abilities to address them.
Crucial Elements of Project-Based Learning
The following factors distinguish Project-Based Learning from the other modes of teaching:
Besides touching on concepts, this learning method centers on projects to foster the understanding of projects. These projects entail designing, using relevant skills to implement specific projects, or devising project-based methodologies to deal with the issues being explored.
These projects focus more on complex issues being investigated. The problem-solving process entails an in-depth analysis of the findings.
Inquiries also form the basis of this kind of learning model. Instead of the teacher furnishing the learners with information about a particular concept, this model encourages the teacher to invite questions.
When working on the projects, learners are encouraged to take note of observations and use them to invite questions about the concept. These questions invite further topics to be explored and extensive research to devise answers.
Relatability is another vital factor that dictates this learning mode. For instance, the projects are centered around real-life and relatable situations and experiences. The practical approach in this learning mode makes it easier for the learner to acquire the necessary skills.
4. Student Autonomy
Another critical aspect that this learning model focuses on is the learner’s autonomy. For instance, the teacher is encouraged to build on the learner’s strengths by encouraging them to choose their preferred projects and problem-solving methodologies. Doing so fosters a sense of ownership and inclusivity in the learning process.
Another way of fostering inclusivity in learning entails collaboration. Apart from individual projects, this learning mode encourages cooperation and teamwork by encouraging learners to share ideas when working on the projects.
Project-Based Learning also encourages distributing tasks when working on projects. As a result, every learner’s input can be felt.
6. Integration of Multiple disciplines
Project-Based Learning is more open-ended and draws the relationship between multiple disciplines. Therefore, it fosters a better understanding of a concept.
7. Tutor Facilitation
Unlike most learning modes, in Project-Based Learning, teachers are facilitators and moderators in the discussions. Their responsibilities entail guiding the conversation and determining the trajectory of the debate. They also furnish the learner with supporting materials based on their input. They also work by providing feedback and the resources required for a better understanding of the topic.
The assessment process in Project-Based Learning differs from most learning modes. It does not entail taking traditional exams and tests. Instead, learners demonstrate their understanding of concepts and skills acquired through presentations showcasing their portfolios and projects. They also engage in reflective activities to showcase their mastery of skills and concepts.
What Makes Project-Based Learning Recommendable?
Having gotten into details to debunk the learning mode and why it is preferred, it is prudent to highlight its strengths and elaborate on why anyone should consider it.
1. Better Understanding of Concepts
Project-Based Learning fosters a better understanding of concepts. It introduces learners to complex concepts in the most palatable way. It also advocates for relatability; hence, the learners are more equipped with the skills to solve real-life problems.
2. Nurturing Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is an important life skill that any learner is required to possess. Project-Based Learning challenges students to exercise their problem-solving skills when working on projects and developing methodologies.
Since learners are encouraged to speak their minds and thought processes during presentations, it helps the teacher be at par with the learner’s analysis process. It also helps the teacher evaluate the learner’s strengths and weaknesses.
This learning mode encourages collaboration since the learning process entails group work and tackling projects in groups. It also fosters the value of teamwork
4. Practical Application
This learning mode broadens the learner’s perspective beyond what they come across in the classroom. It also encourages them to utilize the skills learned to tackle similar or related issues.
5. Intrinsic Motivation
Since learners are left to work on these projects with the teacher’s supervision, this learning mode encourages them to develop innate motivation. It also nurtures their quest to learn more about related concepts.
6. Anticipation for Challenges
Besides dealing with specific challenges, this learning mode prompts the learners to anticipate related challenges. It also furnishes them with the knowledge needed to tackle these challenges.
Since this learning mode encourages learners to express their creativity, it is the perfect base for fostering innovation. Teachers use these projects to solve problems and devise better ways of solving pre-existing issues.
8. Ownership When Learning
Since students do most of the tasks during the class sessions while the teacher provides guidance, this mode fosters active participation. It also minimizes the chances of some students being passive recipients of concepts.
Steps Involved in Project-Based Learning
If you are considering adopting this learning model, follow these steps for a compelling experience:
1. Establish a Problem
Projects are based on pre-existing problems. Therefore, brainstorm possible relatable issues and questions that might compel the learners to want to explore.
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Encourage the learners to plan their approach by explaining their understanding of the topic. Encourage them to gather as much information as possible to back up their answers to the problem or question.
Encourage the learners to gather their material to create a detailed presentation of their approach and solution to the problem. If the problem entails creating a prototype to explain their solution, encourage them to do so.
Collaborate with them during the process and give your remarks during the process. While doing so, provide possible recommendations.
Allow the learners to present their findings and understanding of the topic. Invite questions from the rest of the class and expound on the concept.
Project-Based Learning provides a wholesome learning experience. It meets the learner’s educational needs while nurturing their life skills, setting them apart, and making them stand a better chance at solving complex problems.