When workshopping project-based learning ideas, start by thinking about where you want to go and what you want to accomplish with your students. Although technology may play a huge role in how projects are put together, you want to keep it tangible. The 8 project-based learning strategies below will help you figure things out fast.
- Start with the end in mind: You should always have an idea of how your activity will look. Knowing the outcome when you’re in the planning process will save a lot of time. In this instance, getting to a finish line you already see is the key to PBL success.
- Start small: It’s easy to get excited about project-based learning, but keep it simple and as stress-free as possible. You want to have strong standards to stick to and a reasonable time frame for completion.
- Make tough topics fun: This is the time where you can take a challenging topic and make it interesting and engaging to students. This could encompass a field trip, elevated levels of research, and hands-on situations. They will not only immerse themselves into the project but enjoy it during the process.
- Be flexible: You may have a plan and deadline in mind, but allow room for some flexibility. When going through the learning process there may be areas that are more engaging than others. In the end, making sure the students are learning is the ultimate goal. Have a timetable and check-in process but don’t keep it set in stone.
- Keep students engaged and informed: Students need to know and feel that they are an integral part of the process. Project-based learning strategies like this make room for everyone to learn at their best levels during the process. From the very beginning of the planning stage, determine how you will introduce the project and your benchmarks for giving feedback to students.
- Factor in room for achievement: At every benchmark your plan should include a space where students will be recognized for completing certain areas of the project. This will keep them motivated and pointed in the right direction.
- Plan for accountability: The plan should be able to hold students accountable for demonstrating how they are learning. There should be areas of assessment for content and skills on both an individual and a group level.
- Have room for conflict: Collaboration is not always pretty. At some phase of the project there may be disagreements brewing. As the facilitator, strive to ensure that conflicts are resolved peacefully and the team moves forward constructively, supporting each other.
Go Ahead, Plan Away
These are solid and effective tips for planning and bringing your project-based learning ideas to fruition. Take the time to assess your idea to make sure it is relevant, doable, and can achieve the results you anticipate. Then go try it out on the Solution Fluency Activity Planner, the tool we built for project-based learning. It’s a guided system that makes PBL planning both easy and super-fun.
The Activity Planner has tons of project-based learning ideas for you to explore. In the meantime, the following tips can be applied to your next brainstorming session. Have fun!
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