Have you heard the term “project-based learning”?
If you’re researching schools for your children, you may have encountered the concept. So, what is project-based learning? What benefit does it present that traditional schooling might not?
Project-based learning is a teaching method where students learn through solving real-world problems. Led by a teacher, the children work together to identify, research, and solve the problem. It differs from traditional learning methods. Subjects are integrated, peers are socializing, and the teacher facilitates versus delivers information. Project-based learning teaches the same concepts as traditional education in a comprehensive way. There is less mechanical memorization and more critical thinking, socialization, and problem-solving. It’s a method that offers children a foundation that aligns with the skill sets and strengths they will need as they move into adulthood. This includes critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills.
Here are seven benefits of project-based learning for you to consider when choosing a school for your child.
Traditional learning settings feature a teacher-centered arrangement, where the teacher leads the class and delivers information. Students are, in many ways, a backdrop.
Project-based learning (PBL) seeks to upend that arrangement by creating a student-centered environment. In this setting, the teacher serves as a facilitator while guiding the students. This allows each child to fall into a role which better suits their individual strengths.
This arrangement lets the children become much more engaged and immersed in their own education.
The standard school environment emphasizes memorization and recall. Although some children learn fine this way, it’s not the best system. A standard classroom doesn’t foster critical thinking skills. It also doesn’t help students retain lessons beyond a final exam.
The process of project-based learning commands a deeper understanding of the concepts. It’s one thing for a student to be able to memorize math problems or vocabulary lists. It’s another thing entirely for a student to understand the “how” and “why” behind the problems.
The problem with memorization-based learning is it’s quickly forgotten. The concept wasn’t necessarily understood. PBL seeks to end this problem by changing the approach to learning.
An aspect that sets PBL from traditional teaching methods is that it integrates traditional subjects into one project. This approach is helpful for those who have anxiety around certain subjects. It also tends to better hold the attention of young learners.
In PBL, all the subjects meld into one, interconnected, hands-on lesson. This is a more natural and interesting way to learn. It means that students can more fully understand the lessons and help them to retain what they’ve learned.
It also tends to be more fun, which is an important part of learning!
An important but perhaps underappreciated part of quality education is the social experience. Developing good “social literacy” is a vital part of becoming a well-rounded adult. It helps with communication skills and bolsters confidence levels.
Project-based learning centers around working with a team or small group to problem solve. This means the student gets immersed in a social setting more often than they would in a traditional classroom setting.
Students getting a PBL education often end up with better communication and public speaking skills. Besides being more confident, students with these traits are well-suited to the collaborative spaces they encounter later in life.
The basis for the projects in PBL is “real-world” issues. With the use of today’s technology, students can explore opportunities outside of their local community. They can also communicate with experts across the globe to help them with their research.
These authentic opportunities and experiences can foster a deeper global perspective in students. This can help create compassionate, caring young adults. These experiences can also expose young learners to potential career paths.
Another issue with traditional classroom learning is that it weighs the strengths of each student on the same scale. But, it’s obvious no two children are the same. Many also have very different learning styles.
A benefit of PBL is that students, within their smaller groups, will naturally sort themselves into roles best suiting their individual strengths. This allows teachers to find out more about each child’s personality.
It helps children flourish. It lets the students learn in a manner which is most suited for them.
Following the previous point, project-based learning allows for varied assessment options.
Traditionally, teachers hand out grades based on very structured parameters. But, since all students learn differently, these parameters can inadequately measure performance.
Some students simply don’t test well. Others struggle socially. Some have anxiety around certain subjects.
PBL is structured differently than a traditional classroom. This structure allows teachers to assess students using a broader set of rules that reflect individual strengths. It also offers an accurate picture of each students’ strengths and areas for improvement.
This article lays out just the basics of project-based learning and its benefits to children, their families, and the community as a whole.
If the benefits of project-based learning appeal to you, we encourage you to get in contact with us today. We offer the Vancouver area an enriching, innovative, and immersive approach to education. We’re proud to be a leader in project-based learning. We’d love to give you a tour or answer any questions, so please be in touch!