About PBL

PBL Overview

At the core of the Project Based Learning teaching strategy is this model of how people learn:


Project-Based Learning vs. Projects

In a PBL classroom, students learn by engaging in rigorous, authentic projects done with community partners that require the utilization of every segment of the graphic above. On the TeachThought website,  you can find an explanation of the difference between doing projects versus learning through projects.


Video Explanations of Project-Based Learning

These YouTube videos from BIE.org and Common Craft explain Project Based Learning in a simple, yet effective way:

Project-Based Learning Information

Edutopia provides a series of articles and videos explaining the history of PBL, supporting research, and links to  resources and project ideas:  Project-Based Learning

Buck Institute for Education also has a variety of resources for those who want to learn about and implement PBL on their own: BIE Resources 

Why PBL?

PBL Research

There is a growing library of research that demonstrates the value of students learning in a PBL classroom and environment:magnify

  • For example, a 2013 study conducted by CELL on “Elementary Teachers Perceptions of Project-Based Learning” reported that “Multiple studies report that a variety of students in PBL-taught classrooms demonstrate high-level critical-thinking and problem-solving skills (Mergendoller, Maxwell & Bellisimo, 2006; Shepherd, 1998; Tretten & Zachariou, 1995), and collaboration skills.
  • Additionally, researchers report higher student engagement in PBL classrooms (Belland, et al., 2006; Brush & Saye, 2008; Ravitz & Mergendoller, 2005).  
  • Several studies which report positive effects on student content learning (Finkelstein, Hanson, Huang, Hirschman & Huang, 2010; Boaler, 1997; Penuel & Means, 2000; Stepien & Gallagher, 1993).
  • Additionally, based upon the anecdotal data collected from PBL practitioners and their community partners – the PBL-based instructional model successfully prepares students to take more responsibility for their own learning and to better prepare them for the requirements of the workplace.

For more research results on the impact of PBL on student learning, go to:

Edutopia: https://www.edutopia.org/pbl-research-learning-outcomes

Buck Institute: http://www.bie.org/objects/cat/research

Compilation on PBL Research

Project-based learning in education:  integrating business needs and student learning

PBL in Action

Click on the links below to see short videos to better understand PBL and the Magnify Learning professional development process.

Innovation in Education: Project Based Learning – Decatur Township Schools and Central Indiana Educational Service Center

Learning by Doing: PBL Institute Flips the Script on Indiana Educators –  Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL), University of Indianapolis

School of Education at IUPUI Continues Growth with the Third PBL Institute – Indiana University School of Education

PBL Academy at Columbus Signature Academy – Indiana University School of Education

Conversations with Columbus – Columbus Signature Academy New Tech

Access Denied to Permission Received: New Tech Students Change District through Nationally Recognized Project  –  Center of Excellence in Leadership and Learning (CELL), University of Indianapolis

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