Project Based Learning (PBL)

What is Project Based Learning (PBL)?

Project-Based Learning is a method of instruction that is student-centred and encourages learning through experience. PBL presents opportunities for deeper learning in-context and for the development of important skills for the future.

Three key aspects of PBL, that lead to deeper understanding, are that it be:

1. Inter-disciplinary

PBL focuses on engaging students with real-world problems. We consider this to be interdisciplinary because most real-world challenges are solved using information or skills from multiple subject areas. These types of projects demand that students engage in inquiry, solution building, and product construction to help address a real-world issue or challenge. This often means using content from various academic subjects.

2. Complex

Project-Based Learning requires the application of knowledge and skills, not just recall or recognition. Unlike rote memorization or recall, it is more complex and can be used to assess how students apply their knowledge from various academic subject areas in new ways. The process always starts with an inquiry, and a real problem to be solved. Inquiry-based projects can lead to developing solutions to address these problems, again, using a variety of subject matter.

3. Student-centred

The most important aspect of PBL, is that the role of the teacher is diminished tremendously, and the inquiry is student-led. The teacher is there simply to guide the learning in a meaningful way. Students work independently with the teacher providing support only when needed.

How we promote PBL in our classrooms

Project Based Learning can take on many forms, depending on grade level, student goals, subject matter, and the comfort level of the educator. In order to set the tone and to develop an atmosphere that encourages this type of thinking, at M.F. McHugh, much of our focus is on, but not limited to:

  • Providing Creative Learning Spaces

  • The Purposeful Use of Technology

  • Providing Authentic Learning Experiences

  • Promoting Self-Directed Study

  • Promoting the Development of Cognitive Skills for Problem-Solving

  • Creating a Safe Space for Questioning

  • Promoting Reflection

  • Promoting Self-Assessment