The Learning Renaissance

Project-Based Learning: Some Hiccups Along the Way

This blog has long advocated Project Based Learning (PBL) as a key conduit towards creating a 21st century curriculum in schools. PBL is the basis for transforming a teacher led classroom to one in which the students are moving towards becoming independent and autonomous learners capable of deploying their  skills and experience to any learning problem presented.

However, for students and teachers used to the subject and content based curriculum in which they can be passive recipients of knowledge (or active avoiders of learning), PBL presents some interesting and not insurmountable implementation problems.

John McCarthy outlines some of the more common issues, and solutions.

To the three problems he identifies:

  • Problems in group dynamics
  • Lack of student engagement
  • Students unused to the PBL protocols

I would add a fourth:

  • Having an appropriate assessment model

Certainly in my time at the RSA Academy, nothing more exercised us than the need to move teachers and students away from summative assessment models and towards ipsative assessment. In these assessments the student had more control and discussion of their own self assessment and were working not towards some abstract mark scheme, but to improving on their own personal best previous performance.

It was equally difficult for the teachers to make this transition and to form a different relationship to assessment borne of mentoring and not teaching.

John’s full article can be found here at Edutopia: 3 Common PBL Problems and Solutions | Edutopia


About educationalist04

I'm convinced we can, as a species, do much better than this if we set our minds to being much more positive and productive towards our fellow humans. The solution is learning - creating independent and autonomous learners who can problem solve, innovate and create a better more equitable and sustainable world. My books, Future Proof Your School and Re-Examining Success together with this blog, explore how better learning outcomes for all can be achieved.

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