Problem-based and Projectbased Learning
Problem Based Instruction
S Problem-based learning is a learner-centered approach
to teaching and learning in which the learner learns about
a subject through problem-solving.
S In a problem-based learning (PBL) model, students
engage complex, challenging problems and
collaboratively work toward their resolution.
S PBL is about students connecting disciplinary knowledge
to real-world problems—the motivation to solve a
problem becomes the motivation to learn.
In problem-based learning, students work together in small
groups to solve real-world problems.
Increases motivation to learn
thinking, writing, and
Role: facilitate group process and
learning—not to provide easy
Instructors are able to learn with
students, and find renewed
interest and excitement in
Creating strong problems that lead
students to realize the intended
course learning outcomes.
Enhances retention of
Provides a model for lifelong
Unique aspects that define the PBL
S Problem-based learning is student-centered.
S In a PBL course, students and the instructor become
colearners, coplanners, and coevaluators as they
design, implement, and continually refine their curricula.
S PBL fosters collaboration among students, stresses the
development of problem solving skills within the context of
professional practice, promotes self-directed learning, and is
aimed at increasing motivation for life-long learning.
Seven steps to PBL
Analyze. The students discuss the
problem. At this stage there is no
sifting of ideas.
Identify learning objectives. The
group reaches a consensus on
Self Study. Students individually
gather information towards the
learning objectives and prepare to
share their findings with the rest of the
7. Report. The students come
together in their groups and share
their results. The facilitator checks
that the learning objectives have been
Define. The students work together
to define what they think the
Clarify. The students read through
the problem, then identify and clarify
any words or concepts that they do
Review. Students now try to
arrange their ideas and explanations
into tentative solutions.
S Develop your diagnostic
reasoning and analytical
S Determine what knowledge
you need to acquire to
understand the problem, and
others like it.
S Discover the best resources
for acquiring that information.
S Carry out your own
personalized study using a
wide range of resources.
S Apply the information you
have learned back to the
S Integrate this newly acquired
knowledge with your existing
Project Based Learning
Project-Based Learning is a comprehensive
instructional approach to engage learners in
sustained, cooperative investigation (Bransford &
What is project-based learning?
S Project-based learning is a
dynamic approach to teaching
in which students explore
real-world problems and
challenges. With this type of
active and engaged learning,
students are inspired to obtain
a deeper knowledge of the
subjects they're studying.
S Improved Learning Strategies & Thinking Skills: learning
to learn, life-long learning, active learning and
S Contextual Learning
S High Standards for All Learners
S Changing Roles and Increasing Participation: students as
teachers, teachers as coaches, parent and community
What makes a good project?
S Purpose. Is the project personally meaningful?
S Time. Sufficient time must be provided for learners to think
about and plan.
S Complexity. The best projects combine multiple subject
areas and call upon the prior knowledge and expertise of
S Connected. During great projects students are connected
to each other.
What makes a good project?
S Access. Students need access to a wide variety of
concrete and digital materials anytime, anyplace.
S Shareable. Students need to make something that is
shareable with others.
S Novelty. Few project ideas are so profound that every
child needs to engage in its development in every class.
(by Gary Stager, Ph.D.)
Key components of Project-Based
S Learner-centered environment
S Curricular content
S Authentic tasks
S Multiple expression modes
S Emphasis on time management
S Innovative assessment
Benefits of Project-Based Learning
S Increased attendance, growth in self-reliance, and improved
attitudes toward learning (Thomas, 2000)
S Academic gains equal to or better than those generated by
other models, with students involved in projects taking greater
responsibility for their own learning than during more traditional
classroom activities (Boaler, 1997; SRI, 2000 )
S Opportunities to develop complex skills, such as higher-order
thinking, problem-solving, collaborating, and communicating
S Access to a broader range of learning opportunities in the
classroom, providing a strategy for engaging culturally diverse
learners (Railsback, 2002)
S Boaler, J. (1999, March 31). Mathematics for the moment, or the
millennium? Education Week.
S Thomas, J.W. (1998). Project-based learning: Overview. Novato,
CA: Buck Institute for Education.
S Railsback, J. (2002). Project-based instruction: Creating
excitement for learning. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional