Project-Based Learning

Engaging Students through Project Work 

Project Based Learning is the ongoing act of learning about different subjects by working on all/diverse aspects in a project. This is achieved by guiding students to identify - through research - a “real-world problem”

  • developing its solution
  • using evidence to support the claim, and
  • presenting the solution, for example using a multimedia approach. 

It is a big part of project based learning that the students show what they learn during the course, not just take a test or produce a product at the end to show their learning. This can be done in multiple ways, including presentations, short videos, panel discussions, and interactive poster sessions. In project based learning, students collaborate with each other and assess their own as well as their peers' work efforts. Thus, this teaching and learning method is very close to the real-world working environment.

With a project-based curriculum, each semester is structured around an interdisciplinary project. When used in a single course, the course is planned around a case covering all core elements in the course.

How to Implement Project Based Learning in your Teaching 

In Project Based Learning, projects can be suggested by either the teacher or the students. If students have little or no experience in project work, it might be better if the teacher presents project ideas.

The teacher selects a theme for the course. The theme can e.g. be presented as a filmstrip for the students to watch at home in a “Flipped Classroom” setting and each group of students formulate their own project within the theme, or the teacher can outline some project ideas from which each group can define their project.

At this point, the teacher must take the students’ previous knowledge and experiences into special consideration:

  • How familiar are the students with project-based learning?
  • How much knowledge do they have of the subject?
  • Are they first year students, or are they further into their education?

You also need to consider how to challenge the students in a reasonable way so they think it is fun and motivating to work with the project and develop their knowledge and competences. Still, they must be able to come up with a good solution and result in the project.

The overall objective of Project Based Learning is that the students solve the problem, i.e. the outcome includes some sort of product, which could be a report, a short film, and/or a physical or digital artefact. The groups are working independently, doing their own planning and taking charge of their own learning process. The groups have regular consultations with the teacher. Several times during the process, the group has more formal meetings with the teacher or with the whole class. At these meetings, which must be well prepared by the students, the group should make a status report that identifies current problems, and outlines future actions. You can make the student groups help evaluate each other’s reports by using a peer review tool and a rubric. This can enhance the students learning by learning from each other and the process of evaluation.

Lectures can be given to support the semester theme or as a supplement to the group work, if for example the students have special requests on a topic to be elaborated.

Supporting Project Based Learning with Learning Technology

  • Walk-in studio - for making your own videos to “set the scene” or for the students status-reports or presentations
  • Visualizer – for student presentations/status-reports if they are working with tangible mock-ups or products
  • Clickshare devices – allowing students to present content from their own computer in student presentations or panel discussions
  • Google Drive – for student group work
  • Peer review tools – for students to evaluate each other formatively and thus learn from each other

 Reading and References


Project Based Learning