What is PBL? In Project Based Learning, teachers make <em>learning come alive</em> for students with a microphone, scissors, and a digital SLR camera.

Too many students – especially those furthest from opportunity – are unprepared for the modern economy and the challenges of the 21st century.

Project Based Learning (PBL) prepares students for academic, personal, and career success, and readies young people to rise to the challenges of their lives and the world they will inherit.

Too many students – especially those furthest from opportunity – are unprepared for the modern economy and the challenges of the 21st century.

Project Based Learning (PBL) prepares students for academic, personal, and career success, and readies young people to rise to the challenges of their lives and the world they will inherit.

A hand with finger pads and wires connecting to a electrical board worn on the wrist like a watch
What is PBL? In Project Based Learning, teachers make <em>learning come alive</em> for students with a microphone, scissors, and a digital SLR camera.
A hand with finger pads and wires connecting to a electrical board worn on the wrist like a watch

Students work on a project over an extended period of time – from a week up to a semester – that engages them in solving a real-world problem or answering a complex question. They demonstrate their knowledge and skills by developing a public product or presentation for a real audience.

As a result, students develop deep content knowledge as well as critical thinking, creativity, and communication skills in the context of doing an authentic, meaningful project. Project Based Learning unleashes a contagious, creative energy among students and teachers.

A colorful origami ball
Eight Essential Project Design Elements: Key Knowledge, Understanding, and Success Skills. Challenging Problem or Question. Sustained Inquiry. Authenticity. Student Voice and Choice. Reflection. Critique and Revision. Public Product.

Designing Effective Projects

To help teachers do PBL well, we created a comprehensive, research-based model for PBL — a "gold standard" to help teachers, schools, and organizations to measure, calibrate, and improve their practice. In Gold Standard PBL, projects are focused on student learning goals and include Essential Project Design Elements:

Key Knowledge, Understanding, and Success Skills. The project is focused on student learning goals, including standards- based content and skills such as critical thinking/problem solving, communication, collaboration, and self-management. Challenging Problem or Question. The project is framed by a meaningful problem to solve or a question to answer, at the appropriate level of challenge. Sustained Inquiry. Students engage in a rigorous, extended process of asking questions, finding resources, and applying information. Authenticity. The project features real-world context, tasks and tools, quality standards, or impact – or speaks to students’ personal concerns, interests, and issues in their lives. Student Voice & Choice. Students make some decisions about the project, including how they work and what they create. Reflection. Students and teachers reflect on learning, the effectiveness of their inquiry and project activities, the quality of student work, obstacles and how to overcome them. Public Product. Students make their project work public by explaining, displaying and/or presenting it to people beyond the classroom. Critique & Revision. Students give, receive, and use feedback to improve their process and products.

What does high quality PBL
look like in the classroom?

PBL is becoming widely used in schools and other educational settings, with different varieties being practiced, and there is growing confusion about what high quality Project Based Learning looks like.

The newly launched High Quality Project Based Learning (HQPBL) Framework describes what students should be doing, learning, and experiencing and is intended to provide educators everywhere with a shared basis for designing and implementing good projects.

Get the HQPBL Framework
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Get started with Project Based Learning

Teachers and school leaders rate our professional development as exceptional. Whether you’re seeking teacher training or you’re looking for a whole-district PBL implementation, BIE looks forward to working with you.