Project-based learning is a problem-solving form of education. However, solving problems is just one aspect of the project-based learning model. Enjoyed by teachers and students alike, project-based learning involves active participation and greater engagement with the community.
In terms of student progress, the approach has generated impressive results and led to enhanced executive functioning and the student’s social skills development. Even though much is known about the process, only a few people know about the different ways in which project-based learning is administered.
So, the blog below discusses the types of project-based learning and examples combining the three types.
Project-Based Learning: A more practical approach towards education?
Project-based learning is a practical and student-centered approach to teaching. Project-based, an active form of learning, always pays attention to the engagement factor. It is a great precursor for developing a learner’s cognitive and social skills. When it comes to practicality, the approach might be a little hard to implement for children of young age.
However, the project-based learning approach is the best for students in senior classes. In a study1 by Mukunda Vani et al., the use of a sustainable project-based learning approach in engineering, owing to its practicality, led to a deeper understanding of new concepts and overall satisfactory learning.
Types of project-based Learning
There are three types of project-based learning approaches, which are often employed both exclusively and inclusively, along with other modes of teaching.
1. Challenge-Based Learning
Challenged-based learning, as the name suggests, is a type of project-based learning focused on seeking a solution for problems faced at an individual or community level. Also called problem-based learning, challenge-based learning thrives on the problem-mitigation strategies adopted by the learner and what insight they drive from that. Teachers encourage students to use technology to approach real-world problems and then engage in solution-finding. This strengthens their problem-solving, research, and soft skills. The good thing about challenge-based learning is the time flexibility. Educators can make it a spontaneous exercise in class while giving it a month-long project requiring intensive research and more significant effort.
2. Place-Based Learning
In a chase to accommodate education practices from the developed nations, educators often uproot students from their very own socio-cultural and geographical backgrounds. Hence, place-based learning takes an experiential or service-based learning format and emphasizes students engaging in inquiry-based learning, which is personalized and rooted in the community. Getting students to learn about issues facing their community, like streetlights, or water shortage, can help them develop a community perspective and strategies to tackle such problems.
3. Activity-Based Learning
Activity-based learning means learning based on activities. Students’ construction of meaning through manipulation and experimentation is central to this approach. For instance, a concept like a water cycle can be learned through drawing or building a model. Interactive field trips can also be a part of activity-based learning, where the student is asked to create a version of what they have observed.
Understanding Project-Based Learning with Examples
Students can combine the three types mentioned above of project-based learning and try out the below-mentioned examples in the classroom.
1. Covid-Support Community
The students can take up a covid support community for every geographical location. Taking the place-based learning approach, students can set up the community with a few members who provide food, psychosocial, and some financial aid to those down with covid in their area. To ensure greater efficiency, the community can work as a bridge between essential service providers and ill people in the community. They covid support community can also provide helpline numbers and act like one during cases of emergency. Once the project ends, students can be asked to create a report on the common problems faced and how they tackled them.
2. Authentic Recipes Initiative:
The authentic recipes initiative is also a type of place-based learning. Students can be encouraged to create a comprehensive list of their community’s original recipes and organize a small classroom fare of some of them. Combining it with challenge-based learning, students can then pick the issue of unemployment faced by individuals in the community and help them set up food stalls selling some of their favorite recipes chosen in the fare. Students can also use technology to promote local businesses and set up a YouTube channel for the popularity of this recipe.
3. 3D Model of Climate Change:
Climate change has to be the hottest topic of the generation. While using the activity-based learning approach, students can be asked to create a 3D model of the world and show what kind of problems each region faces. Amongst all these regions, they can be asked to pick the part that concerns them the most and why. Once they have decided which area is of the most concern to them, in groups or pairs, students can be asked to research how to tackle the issues, why they persist, and what efforts they can put in as an outsider.
4. A world without technology:
A world without technology might seem impossible, and it is one of the most asked debate topics. However, a world without technology can be an activity-based learning, where students are given resources for a project like newspapers, magazines, or books. The highlight here must be refraining from technology. This will give them insight into how the research was carried out earlier and how it can be done even today. The project can be handmade and presented interactively rather than showing a video on a projector screen.
Documentary on any societal issue, for instance, eve-teasing, can be undertaken by students. Students can compile cases in the local neighborhood alongside their consequences. At the documentary’s end, they can create a section specifically on the victim’s perspective and experience. Following the documentary, a community awareness program or ways to solve the problem are decided in the classroom setting.
Teacher: The most crucial role in PLB
Project-based learning has opened the doors to a more student-centric form of pedagogy. While some teachers also fear this newly given freedom might have them completely removed from the teaching scene, that’s far from reality. Project-based learning has replaced the spoon-feeding approach and offered teachers the liberty to encourage and guide the students in the right direction.
Even though the project is under the student, teachers can ask for timely updates and follow up on the progress while informing them about any roadblocks that might be facing them. Additionally, teachers can also make use of questions while interacting with the students or conducting surveys.
While project-based learning is more collaborative, teachers have taken up the role of facilitator in this setup. Even with this facilitative role, the deep thinking required to come up with project work still rests with the teacher.
Project-based learning is a form of teaching that often sparks one thoughts. What will the teacher do if everything is supposed to be done by the student? Nevertheless, educators are well-aware that the purpose of education is to free students from dependency and hand-holding practices of traditional teaching. However, that doesn’t mean teachers have parted ways with their responsibilities; instead, they have redefined their duties into a more facilitative kind. Additionally, teachers can also make use of specific project-based learning ideas to help kids. And with the types of project-based learning approaches, students and teachers can further expand the horizons of the classroom and learning.
- Mukunda Vani, M., Baig, Y. M., Wesley, C., & Iqbal, S. R. (2021). Sustainable Project-Based Learning: A More Practical Approach. Journal of Engineering Education Transformations, 34(0), 718. https://doi.org/10.16920/jeet/2021/v34i0/157172