Dick is a science teacher at a secondary school. One day, he finds that only few students attend his class, and the reason is that many of them get sick with flu. In later classes, he picks this “authentic problem” as a topic for students to work on. He divides students into groups, and each group can choose a specific topic related to flue. For example, one group is working on the relationship between hand washing and getting a flu, and another group is making a poster about how a virus spreads. After the students finish their project, Dick let each group present their work in the class, and also lets them comment on each other’s project. Dick finds that students improved their critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills through engaging in project-based learning.
According to Moylan (2008), “Project Based Learning (is) a systematic teaching method that engages students in learning essential knowledge and life-enhancing skills through an extended, student-influenced inquiry process structured around complex, authentic questions and carefully designed products and task.”
More specifically, project-based learning can be defined as follows (Moursund, 1999):
Rooted in various constructivist schools of thought, e.g. theories that have followed from constructivism (Piaget), socio-culturalism (Vygotsky, 1962) and situated learning (Lave and Wenger, 1991).
Project Based Learning is a teaching and learning model in which
To successfully implement project-based instruction, according to van Merriënboer and Pass (2003, p.3) Powerful pedagogical designs are characterized with the following characteristics :
Project-Based Learning Support System (Laffey et al., 1998)
|Scaffolding||Structural supports to assist novice learners in the performance of tasks for which they would otherwise be unprepared.||
|Coaching||Situated responses to learner task performances which are targeted at bringing learner performance closer to expert performance.||
|Planning & Resourcefulness||Tools designed to assist learners with the complex demands involved in planning and being resourceful within authentic research projects.||
|Knowledge Representation||Tools designed to assist learners in the framing, representation, and re-representation of their ideas, knowledge, and their development, and in deriving cognitive benefits from the act of representation.||
|Communication & Collaboration||Tools designed to support the exchange and sharing of ideas and results, collaboration between widely distributed participants, feedback, discussion, & debate, and the growth of a "community" of learners.||
|Reflection||Tools to support self and communal evaluation and reification of previously completed work, with subsequent cognitive and physical revision, re-framing, and restructuring of ideas, assumptions and representations.||
Technology enables Project Based Learning by, e.g.