Project Based Learning – Part III – The Power of Project-Based Learning in Preparing Students for the Workplace

To thrive in today’s world, students must come out of high school having the knowledge and skills that are so desperately needed to be successful in college and in the workplace. Unfortunately, critical thinking skills are at an all-time low for many of the kids graduating high school today. Many are ill-prepared to step into a job, a career or college.  The result is the skills gap keeps growing larger and larger and employers are struggling to fill open positions while young adults are facing not being able to find employment because they don’t have the skills necessary.   

Teachers are turning to project-based learning in both traditional and virtual classrooms as a way to ensure that students understand how to collaborate, problem solve, research, question and build a response to specific challenges, projects or problems before they graduate. 

These skills are based on 3 important categories: learning skills, literacy skills, and life skills.

And they include 12 skills that have been identified as being vitally important to be successful in today’s world:

  1. Critical thinking
  2. Creativity
  3. Collaboration
  4. Communication
  5. Information literacy
  6. Media literacy
  7. Technology literacy
  8. Flexibility
  9. Leadership
  10. Initiative
  11. Productivity
  12. Social skills

These are skills modern employers are looking for and students who graduate with proficiency in these areas will be considered for employment, have more career advancement opportunities and will demand better financial and compensation programs.

Studies have proven how effective project-based learning is in teaching these skills. Project-based learning helps students not only gain these critical skills but master them.  After completing project-based learning activities, students are better able to think critically, work collaboratively, resolve conflicts, problem-solve, apply what they’ve learned to real-life situations, and perform well on standardized tests.

This is true even with students from historically disadvantaged backgrounds. As project-based learning keeps kids engaged and helps close the achievement gap often seen in these demographics.

Project-based learning motivates students to learn in the first place, helps them develop a lifelong love of learning, and shows them practical applications for the new knowledge they’ve learned in class.

High school students who go on to college need to be able to work both independently and collaboratively with their peers to explore new information and craft new skills. College students who experienced project-based learning activities in elementary, middle school, or high school already know how to make discoveries and present their findings and observations.

Employers are looking for talented individuals who know how to take a challenge and solve it. They need thought leaders, innovators, and people with entrepreneurial spirits to lead their businesses.  They are looking for individuals who can research, problem solve, and present multiple solutions that make sense for the business.   

In many ways, project-based learning is the answer to preparing students for their futures and closing the skills gap.