When it comes to project-based learning, there are so many advantages to using it in both traditional and virtual classroom environments. Project-based learning keeps kids engaged, it promotes critical thinking skills and problem solving techniques, it helps them make important connections to their life, and it puts them in control of their own learning.
While students are being exposed to project-based learning in class, they’re learning critical new skills that prepare them to be the thought leaders of tomorrow.
In project-based learning, students are given a problem to solve, a project to complete, a question to answer, or a challenge to face. This enables them to become an active part of the learning process instead of being a passive observer.
Generally, project-based learning is done with a small group of students so everyone gets a chance to participate in the research and completion of the project. Students spend time asking themselves and their team-mates questions, researching, and then applying the new information to the project or problem at hand. This sustained inquiry process compels them to think on a much deeper level and will help them understand that there is more than just one way to complete, answer or build the project or problem.
Students start to understand how the topic can often relate to them personally, and how it impacts their own lives. It helps them understand the process and purpose behind the tasks which is an important part of the learning process.
Project-based learning activities allow students to make a choice in how they go about making discoveries, coming to conclusions, and presenting information in a way that makes sense to them. When asked to reflect on both their successes and struggles in solving the problem, answering the question, or facing the challenge it creates another learning experience that is both individual and group-based. Because they have to give, receive, and apply feedback to make their conclusions stronger and more detailed, it incorporates collaboration skills that they will need in life.
When presenting their project, they learn presentation skills, get a solid understanding of how to work with others, the “give and take” of collaborating and listening to others, and how to share in the rewards of success.
Project-based learning expedites the entire learning process for students, taking them from casual observers to becoming innovators in their education. It does this by helping them build stamina, compelling them to use reasoning to think through complex ideas, and teaches them how to build a plan with practical applications in the real world.
Project-based learning works particularly well for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, such as in high-poverty schools, and helps teachers provide a more equitable education to all students.
Instead of giving a lecture or handing out yet another worksheet, create project-based learning activities that help your students collaborate with others, build knowledge, develop critical thinking skills, research and question information, make decisions, and present findings.
Studies have proven that students who gain a lot of experience with project-based learning activities are more successful in our ever-changing world and that they show significant gains academically.