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About PBL

What is Project-Based Learning?

  • Project-based learning is a way of learning in which students acquire content knowledge and skills in order to answer a driving question based on an authentic challenge, need, problem or concern.

  • Project-based learning is done collaboratively and within groups using a variety of employability skills such as critical thinking, communication, and creativity.

  • PBL allows for student voice and choice as well as inquiry.

  • Authentic PBL involves a community partner and a publicly presented product.

Project-based learning units include the following components:

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  • Content Knowledge & Skills

  • Authenticity & Relevance-Addressed a real-world challenge, need, problem, or concern

  • Inquiry

  • Student Voice & Choice

  • Collaboration

  • Employability (21st Century) Skills

  • Community Partnerships

  • Feedback & Revision

  • Publicly Presented Product

  • Reflection

Projects vs. Project-Based Learning


  • A culminating event that happens at the end of the unit after all student learning has already taken place

  • The knowledge and skills taught in the unit are not necessarily needed to complete the project and the project itself does not typically reflect all of the student learning.

  • Oftentimes the project has no real-world connection and after being graded the project is no longer used.

Project-based learning unit:

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  • It poses an authentic problem, challenge, need, or issue at the start of the unit in the form of an entry event.

  • Students receive the rubrics outlining what tasks or end products they will have to create.

  • From the very start of the project students see their need to learn the course content and skills in order to complete each step or benchmark of the project.

  • Their end goal is clear from the beginning and their learning is meaningful because they need the content and skills in order to solve the problem, challenge, need, or issue that has been posed to them.

  • The PBL unit involves a community partner and ends with a publicly presented product that will be used even after the unit has been completed.