Project-based learning (PBL) is an innovative educational approach focusing on real-world experiences and student engagement.
Unlike traditional learning—which revolves around results and test scores—project-based learning emphasises the entire learning process, from initial brainstorming and planning to project completion and reflection.
Whether you’re a student or an employer, if you’re keen to learn more about how project-based learning could benefit you, keep reading!
How project-based learning benefits students
Because PBL emphasises “learning by doing”, students develop skills relevant to all aspects of life, improving their career prospects, interpersonal relationships, and understanding of themselves.
While projects can differ widely, the core concepts remain the same. In general, project-based learning activities will:
- Focus on open-ended questions, problems, or challenges
- Incorporate a student’s preexisting skills and interests
- Revolve around inquiry and investigation
- Require modern thinking skills
- Emphasise student choice and direction
- Involve reflection, feedback, and revision
So, whether a student chooses to volunteer at a local animal shelter or investigate a scientific theory, each of these elements will play a part.
By engaging closely and actively with their chosen project, students will develop skills useful in work and daily life, including:
- Interpersonal or collaborative skills
- Critical thinking skills
- Project management skills
- Deeper understanding
- Creativity and abstract thinking skills
- Self-confidence and empowerment
Each of these skills, of course, are highly sought after by employers across all industries.
How project-based learning benefits employers
Employers choosing to work with PBL students will have access to fresh ideas, knowledge, and skills. While students learn from their experience in your workplace, you too could learn from them, gaining unique insights and perspectives.
Many PBL students also become future job candidates. When a student enters your workplace—through an internship, placement, or volunteer project—you will see their interest and determination first-hand.
A PBL student may also find interest in activities that benefit the local community, boost your business’s involvement in local affairs, and foster a stronger sense of connection within your company.
Project-based learning examples
When it comes to project-based learning, the options are endless. You could choose to pursue an internship or engage in community service—or you could come up with an original invention and work through the planning, design, and construction process.
Remember—PBL features a few core concepts, but it’s up to you how these concepts integrate into your chosen project. As long as you aim to solve a real-world problem or challenge, you’re on the right track.
Here are a few other exciting PBL ideas:
- Designing a mobile phone app
- Creating a student farm
- Researching a popular issue in the media
- Solving a problem in the workplace
- Creating a business plan
- Volunteering at a local op-shop
- Creating an advertisement for an original product
- Designing and building a solar-powered robot
Regardless of the project you choose, make sure to focus on all stages of the process—from planning to reflection and revision.
Project-based learning offers endless benefits for students and employers. Students will gain confidence, creativity, and critical thinking skills—along with real-world career experience. Employers will benefit from building connections with students, realising fresh perspectives, and potentially gaining new employees.