Giving Compass' Take:

• The author describes the various benefits of project-based learning for students, such as teaching empathy and incorporating service learning.  

• What are some challenges implementing PBL? Why is it not part of most curriculums yet?

• Read about how to succeed with project-based learning.

Project-based learning has been touted as the pedagogical cure-all for many things. Indeed, I have long argued it’s the ultimate instructional response to the need for real-world relevance and application, problem-solving, collaboration, student engagement, presentation skills, mentors and even tech integration. It’s the pedagogical glue if you will.

Here are just a few areas where PBL can begin to affect the heart, as well as the mind, for every student:

  • Real World Empathy: Students begin to stop asking what the world can do for them, but rather ask themselves what can they contribute to the world. This creates a transformation where we can have empathy for others.
  • Service Learning and SEL: Because the students are tackling these real-world challenges, there are real-world efforts in their communities to address these challenges that our students can connect with that result in service opportunities.
  • PBL is People-Oriented:  PBL not only allows for real-world collaboration—it fosters it. Students engaged in relevant, real-world project work have opportunities to work with experts, industry professionals, school and community leaders, non-profit organizations, clients or constituents, and their peers.
  • Sense of Self: PBL provides a pedagogical approach that can produce the environment, situation, opportunities culture that fosters a sense of self. Everything about PBL—real-world challenges, collaboration, student voices and roles, authentic and public work and reflection—creates opportunities for students to self-actualize.
  • Reflective Practices and Personal, Emotional Growth: We think about, as well as articulate, what we learn, how we learn, what has changed now that we’ve experienced the learning and what we take with us to our next challenge.

Read the full article about project-based learning by Michael Niehoff at Getting Smart