What is project-based learning and how could it benefit your learners? Learn more about this dynamic, learner-centered approach and how it’s reshaping the future of education.
A New Way to Learn
Studies show that learners retain less than half of the information presented in lecture format? Lectures rely on the hope that students will absorb the necessary information, and then a second hope that the information taught translates into knowledge and skills that will allow the student to function, adjust, and succeed later on in life.
Rather than creating a classroom where lessons are lobbed over to students with the hope that something will stick, educators are finding power in applying lessons to real-world challenges. This style of teaching is called project-based learning, and it’s your secret to taking students beyond the traditional classroom by allowing them to become creators, problem-solvers, and lifelong learners.
Not only does project-based learning benefit students in the short-term by making learning more engaging, relevant, and interesting, but this approach also equips students for the future by helping them identify and build skills they can take into their careers.
What Is Project-Based Learning?
Project-based learning encourages students to immerse themselves in real-world, multifaceted challenges. Instead of passively absorbing information, students actively explore topics, engage in problem-solving, collaborate with peers, and create tangible solutions. This approach shifts the focus from "What do you know?" to "What can you do with what you know?" As a result, this style of teaching promotes deeper learning as students apply concepts rather than just memorize facts.
Why Shift to Project-Based Learning?
Advancements in technology have brought to light the importance of equipping students not only with knowledge but with the skills and adaptability to thrive in the workforce of tomorrow. These changes have caused innovative educators to rethink the effectiveness of traditional education.
Traditional education leads students cramming before a test to memorize facts and regurgitate information without fully understanding the practical applications of what they're learning. This style of learning can no longer keep up with the hungry minds of students living in the information age, who have educational tools at their fingertips.
Educators who are taking those hungry minds and feeding them with purpose-filled projects beyond simply satisfying a school requirement are finding great success. In fact, research indicates that project-based learning was superior when it comes to long-term retention, skill development and satisfaction of students and teachers.”
Project-based learning is not just another educational buzzword. It's a dynamic approach that empowers students to become active participants in their own education. It fosters the development of essential skills that are highly valuable in the workplace of the future.
7 Future-Ready Skills Learners Gain Through Project-Based Learning
What makes project-based learning (PBL) stand out? Here are 7 career-ready skills that students are able to identify and build through PBL:
Careers and adult life bring endless challenges. PBL helps students develop critical problem-solving skills as they’re immersed in real-world problems. This structure requires students to analyze, strategize, and implement solutions. Through hands-on experience, students sharpen their ability to think critically and innovatively—a skillset highly sought after by employers in virtually every industry.
2. Collaboration and Communication
Modern workplaces are built on collaboration and communication. PBL encourages students to work in teams, share ideas, and work toward a common goal. They learn to navigate diverse perspectives, resolve conflicts, and convey their thoughts effectively—skills that are indispensable for success in the collaborative work environments of tomorrow.
3. Project Management
The ability to manage projects efficiently is a skill that extends across various professions. PBL tasks students with planning, organizing, and executing projects from start to finish. These experiences teach them valuable project management techniques that are directly applicable to future careers.
4. Information Literacy in the Digital Age
In an era inundated with information, the ability to navigate and discern relevant data is crucial. PBL requires students to research and analyze information to address modern day challenges. This enhances their information literacy and data analysis skills, which are in high demand in today's data-driven job market.
5. Adaptability and Resilience
Innovation is the lifeblood of progress. PBL fosters creativity by encouraging students to explore unique solutions to real problems. By constantly pushing the boundaries of their creativity, students develop the mindset and skills needed to drive innovation in their future careers.
6. Creativity and Innovation
The workforce of the future will require individuals who can adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. PBL exposes students to unexpected obstacles and setbacks, teaching them resilience and adaptability. Resilience will serve to help them persevere through difficulties, and adaptability will allow them to embrace changes with confidence.
7. Lifelong Learning Culture
The most successful professionals are those who never stop learning. PBL instills a love for learning and equips students with the ability to seek out new information independently. This cultivates a lifelong learning culture that is indispensable in an ever-evolving job market.
Project-Based Learning Helps Learners Identify Skills
The beauty of PBL lies not only in teaching these skills but also in helping students recognize their innate abilities and apply them to real world scenarios. Through these projects, students gain a practical understanding of their own strengths and interests, allowing them to make informed and more confident decisions about their future career paths.
3 Quick Examples of Project-Based Learning
Create bite-sized learning modules for on-the-go professional development.
Task your team with designing a microlearning module tailored to a specific topic or skill relevant to your organization. These microlearnings could include short, interactive modules, quizzes, and multimedia content. Test your learning module(s) for usability and effectiveness.
This project will help your team acquire skills in content curation and learning design. They will learn how to deliver concise and impactful training materials that can be accessed anytime, anywhere.
Industry Innovation Challenge
Foster innovation and collaboration within your industry while addressing specific challenges or opportunities.
Start by identifying a pressing issue or emerging trend in your industry and present it as a challenge to your organization. Teams then work on proposing innovative solutions to address the challenge. You can provide teams with support, resources, and mentorship throughout this project.
Your team will gain hands-on experience in problem-solving, creativity, and collaboration within your industry. They will also have the opportunity to network and learn from their peers, mentors, and experts in the field.
K-12 Entrepreneurship Project
Students learn about entrepreneurship, business concepts, and financial literacy.
Have students work in teams to develop a business idea, create a detailed business plan, and present it to a panel of teachers or local business experts. Students will need to consider aspects like target audience, marketing, budgeting, and revenue projections.
Students will learn about the fundamentals of entrepreneurship, including market research, financial planning, and presentation skills. They will also develop teamwork, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. The project could culminate in a real-world business plan if you wanted to expound upon it!
Getting Started with Project-Based Learning
Implementing project-based learning takes thoughtful planning and support. Our team at Desklight can partner with you to design and integrate customized project-based learning experiences into your educational programs. Here are some of the ways we can help:
- We can collaborate with your team to identify meaningful projects aligned with your academic standards and goals while ensuring the projects are suited to your learners' needs.
- We can provide customized professional development to equip your educators with the skills they need to facilitate powerful PBL experiences.
- We can develop authentic assessments to evaluate students' content knowledge, skill development, and real-world application abilities.
- We can offer ongoing support to help you successfully transition to and sustain project-based learning over time.
Adding project-based learning to your educational programs will allow you to reach your learners in a new and impactful way. As you embrace this approach, consider partnering with Desklight to tailor your learning experiences to your learners’ unique needs.