This blog post discusses the many misconceptions about project based learning.  There are a lot of myths surrounding PBL including what types of projects should be included in project based learning.


I spend a good chunk of time on Twitter, often participating in or lurking on a Twitter chat. I have seen project based learning — PBL — a topic of discussion, but at the same time, I see a lot of claims about PBL that are just not true. What bothers me about these claims is not that they are wrong but that these misconceptions lead to further problems when implementing PBL. I’d like to take some time to dispel some of these misunderstandings in hopes that they clear up other issues teachers may have with PBL.

project based learning“I do projects all the time.” Often when I talk to teachers they respond, “Oh I’ve done PBL for a long time. We’ve always done projects in my classroom.” To me this is often a red flag. Projects and PBL aren’t the same. However, I do know teachers that have done projects in the past that have had many of the elements of PBL but might be missing some. I use the Project Essential Elements checklist to ensure that I am in fact doing PBL and not projects.

“I don’t have time to do a PBL project and all the scaffolding needed and lessons.”A PBL project includes both the creation of the authentic product aligned to the project AND the scaffolding, learning activities, drill and skill, etc., that must occur to support student creation of the final product. When I say I am doing a PBL project with my students and it is going to take 2-3 weeks, I mean that it will take that amount of time not only to have students collaborate and create together to solve an authentic problem or address an issue, but also to get the important skills that they need to do so. Worksheets will occur. Direct instruction will occur. Group work will occur. All of the important and effective strategies we teachers use will occur within the context of the project.

CONTINUE READING Understanding Project Based Learning

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