Research on PBL

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:


Buck Institute:

Compilation on PBL Research

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

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