New Free Project-Based Learning Resource, K-12

Project-based instruction provides one way to introduce a wider range of learning opportunities into the classroom. It can engage children from diverse cultural backgrounds because children can choose topics that are related to their own experiences, as well as allow them to use cultural or individual learning styles.

NWREL compiled this list of benefits of project-based instruction:
* Preparing children for the workplace. Children are exposed to a wide range of skills and competencies such as collaboration, project planning, decision making, and time management (Blank, 1997; Dickinson et al., 1998).
* Increasing motivation. Teachers often note improvement in attendance, more class participation, and greater willingness to do homework (Bottoms & Webb, 1998; Moursund, Bielefeldt, & Underwood, 1997).
* Connecting learning at school with reality. Students retain more knowledge and skills when they are engaged in stimulating projects. With projects, kids use higher order thinking skills rather than memorizing facts in an isolated context without a connection to how and where they are used in the real world (Blank, 1997; Bottoms & Webb, 1998; Reyes, 1998).
* Providing collaborative opportunities to construct knowledge. Collaborative learning allows kids to bounce ideas off each other, voice their own opinions, and negotiate solutions, all skills that will be necessary in the workplace (Bryson, 1994; Reyes, 1998).
* Increasing social and communication skills.
* Increasing problem-solving skills (Moursund, Bielefeldt, & Underwood, 1997).
* Enabling students to make and see connections between disciplines.
* Providing opportunities to contribute to their school or community.
* Increasing self-esteem. Children take pride in accomplishing something that has value outside the classroom (Jobs for the Future, n.d.).
* Allowing children to use their individual learning strengths and diverse approaches to learning (Thomas, 1998).
* Providing a practical, real-world way to learn to use technology (Kadel, 1999; Moursund, Bielefeldt, & Underwood, 1997).

PBL-Online is a multi-level resource for problem-based learning teachers, both experts and those new to PBL. The site provides, introduces, and explains Project Based Learning using both text and video. In addition, it guides users through the planning of a standards-focused project. You can access the site at

Key features of PBL-Online include:
* Designing Your Project - Plan rigorous and relevant standards-focused projects that engage students in authentic learning activities, teach 21st century skills, and demand demonstration of mastery.
* Video Library - Search for projects developed by others or contribute your own projects.
* The PBL Co-laboratory - Learn what defines project-based learning and the PBL-Online approach to successful project design.
* Online Course - Learn important strategies for teaching online and learning online.
* Resources - Review research and find web resources about effective project based learning.

The Buck Institute for Education (BIE) is a non-profit, research and development organization dedicated to improving the practice of teaching and the process of learning. BIE is responsible for the creation and development of the PBL-Online Web site.
BIE Sample Project-Planning Form
1. Begin with the end in mind.
2. Craft the driving question.
3. Plan the assessment, part 1.
4. Plan the assessment, part 2.
5. Map the project, part 1.
6. Map the project, part 2.
7. Manage the process.