Project Based Learning is an interactive style of learning that is designed to engage students in solving complex problems while working in groups. The teacher does not lecture but rather facilitates student learning by posing questions that guide student exploration, as well as planning challenges carefully so that the students learn from multiple academic categories. This style of learning requires communication, collaboration, and critical thinking. Project Based Learning is a student driven approach that consistently produces high test scores and lasting student learning, especially in sciences. Ultimately students gain a deeper understanding of the material in addition to real world skills.
Project based learning is different from typical group work or projects because it begins with the final product in mind. Students have to work as a team in order to find the necessary tools, information, and knowledge that will enable them to make their final presentation. Taking knowledge that is given and then producing the final project is characteristic of group work without Project Based Learning. Project Based Learning creates a need for the student to find and learn the material pertaining to their assignment.
Project Based Learning engages students by posing challenging and thoughtful questions that allow for exploration of the topic. Not only do students explore the topic to gain knowledge about it, but they also get to work with a group in order to produce a final project displaying their findings. This gives students the opportunity to take responsibility in their work and choose how they want to express what they have learned. Project Based Learning motivates students to learn and even makes a difference for students who may have become turned off to learning in the more traditional sense.
One important aspect of PBL includes presentations to community members. Final projects often deal with community issues and students are often driven to work harder on their presentations because their work has real context and relevance to the community. Once the presentations are given there is opportunity for feedback from the audience. After the students are presented with feedback they can then make revisions to their projects.