EDTECH 542: What is PBL?

I am ready for another semester in the EDTECH Program. My first posting is for 542: Project Based Learning. I find myself excited and looking forward to a very worthwhile semester.

I began using elements of project based learning in my first year of teaching. However, it was not something I realized I was doing. I wanted to provide my students with projects and activities that were meaningful and memorable. Now, I find myself planning these experiences each week and in a more purposeful way.

I am looking forward to this semester. I know that my students will reap the benefits of such a positive, hands-on, research-based, topic.

My First Assignment: What is PBL?

The term ‘Project Based Learning’ seems very self-explanatory. The three words in the title imply that learning occurs when a project is completed. However, I find that there are several key attributes of PBL that are not apparent in the title itself.

The Buck Institute for Education writes, “In Project Based Learning (PBL), students go through an extended process of inquiry in response to a complex question, problem, or challenge.” Noting the idea of a complex problem or challenge is important. Critical thinking skills are a component of PBL that cannot be overlooked. Other key components of project-based learning are:

  • communication
  • inquiry
  • content standards
  • problem solving
  • final project

The main difference between project and problem based learning is the product. In problem based learning, students are trying to solve problems with the end result being the answer to the problem. In project based learning, students may use the problem solving elements of problem based learning, however they will create a final product to demonstrate learning. The goal in project based learning is the project, not the problem itself.

The integration of project based learning has given classrooms around the world enthusiasm and drive. I think of my own students. When a PBL project is started, the children want to move forward. They are curious and excited to begin. This is not always the case when students are given a traditional assignment in the classroom. There are also the added benefits of critical thinking opportunities and the important element of student ownership and creation in the classroom.


What is PBL? | Project Based Learning | BIE. (n.d.). Retrieved June 8, 2012, from http://www.bie.org/about/what_is_pbl/?gclid=CK-khbexv7ACFQhgTAodCViCEQ


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