Experiential Learning The Learning By Doing

Overall and holistic development through experiential learning theory

How to Introduce Project-based Learning to Students?

Students doing Science project during classroom learning

Project-based learning gives a structure and process to teachers, through which they can teach students to solve real-life situations. In PBL teachers ensure that students collect information from various information sources through  artificial intelligence, encyclopaedias, books out of their curriculum, newspapers and others. 

The main ideas behind project-based learning methodologies is to develop literacy skills among students such as independent research, brainstorming, time management and finding solutions.

Before the concept of PBL teachers used to provide enough resources to students for the preparation. In contrary,  PBL gives exposure to real-life and encourages the students to  collect all the data by themselves.

Preparation of a project can take weeks or months, in between this period students engage with the real-world through various modes and try to find a possible solution.

Let’s understand the process of research a student should follow.

How do Students Investigate the Solutions on their own?

Project-based learning is all about child-centric pedagogy. Activities based on real-life situations help students to explore new solutions and indulge in active learning. 

In the PBL, students find solutions by asking refining questions, maintaining timeline, debating, designing plans, collecting and analysing data, drawing conclusions and much more.

Now let's discuss the steps a teacher should take before implementing a project.

Objectives of Project-Based Learning (PBL)

There are multiple objectives of PBL, and below we discussed some of its objectives. Let’s take a look:

  • Overall  Development
Students learning practical in classroom with help of teachers

Inquiry-based learning is the best approach to overall development. This step leads to deeper learning of the subject, this will help them not only in academics but in the real world also. When a student has a good knowledge of different subjects then this will lead to a better solution to the situation. 

  • Critical Thinking

In PBL, the teacher becomes a facilitator, who lets students work independently and help them only when they need it. Students try to find solutions on their own while working on projects.  

  • Increased Collaboration
Students collaboratively doing science practical

While making the project students start collaborating with other students. Through collaboration, students will learn to help each other in solving any kind of situation.

  • Resource Management Skills
Students understanding how to manage resources to complete a project

For becoming independent learners, students need to take lots of responsibilities to complete the complex projects. In project-based learning, students learn skills such as respecting the timeline, planning, and researching which helps them in completing the task on time. 

How does PBL differ from “Doing a Normal Project”?

Project methods have been used in schools for a long period of time. However, there are different features that are novel in PBL.

For example - In the project method, the teacher used to give the topic to students: “Why water is important for us?”. 

Under this pattern the teacher already covered this topic from the syllabus and students were well aware of how to prepare a project. These projects can be done by a student or group of students at home or in a classroom within a time period. 

In PBL, the facilitator provides different themes to the students. For example: Our Environment project topic can be “Why we should save water and how we can do this? As compared to normal projects, PBL requires more critical thinking, decision-making, and collaborative skills. To answer this driving question and create good quality work, students need to use these skills. 

They just don’t have to remember the concepts. Instead of that, they will apply their learnings in the project. In this way, students will use their thinking skills and learn to work with a team. 

Implementation of Project-Based Learning

There are 4 stages of project-based learning: 

  1. Planning of Projects 

This is the first and most important part of PBL integration. Educators need to focus on the key preparation areas while preparing for the project. The focus key areas are:

  1. Identifying the learning objective
  2. Selecting topics from different subjects, for example,

Subjects you can take under a topic “Family” are English (story of Anne Frank), Hindi (optional), Maths (statistics, pie charts, probability) Science (reproduction: plants and animal family)

  1. Developing curriculum-framing questions, for example, frame inquiry-based questions related to the subjects:
Students helping each other to frame questions for a project

English: How will you support your family in a time of crisis?

Sst Eco: survey among your friends or locality about the number of people who are earning, dependent, children etc (Find out the purpose) 

Maths: You can encourage the students to learn stats, pie, probability or age questions by surveying the people 

Science: Heredity or Reproduction: Reproduction: A process of making a family. Heredity: DNA, Nurture and so on.

  1. Purpose of Assessment

Critical thinking, holistic development, and increased overall learning:

  • Gauging student needs
  • Examine students work, graphic organisers, Know-wonder-learn (K-W-L) chart, brainstorming
  1. Monitoring progress

Informal Observations and Anecdotal Notes, Learning Logs, Progress - Checklists, Progress Reports, Project Meetings and Conferences Agenda

  1. Checking for understanding and encouraging metacognition

Written Journals, Assessment Methods, Video and Photo Journals, Structured - Interviews and Observations, Informal Questioning, Written and Oral Tests and Quizzes

  1. Demonstrating Understanding and Skill

Products and Performances

  1. Scheduling 

Creating a timeline for all project components is important for teachers and students to track the progress of the project.

  • The teachers should decide the amount of time a project will take to complete in a class. It is essential to note the other things that are happening in the classroom or school which can impact the time frame of the project.
  • To complete the project on time, teachers should create milestones that will help them to note the due dates and tick the checkpoints which are getting completed.
  • It is also important for the teachers to be prepared with milestones to allow flexibility, growth and changes in the project.

  1. Implementing and Monitoring 

Teachers need to follow the project schedule, mentor the project process and encourage students to work collaboratively. They need to ensure that each group and all the students of the group are going through the entire process of learning. During the project, teachers need to proactively promote discussions within the groups. 

Teacher solving doubts of students regarding their project

Teachers need to facilitate the process and support students by proactively questioning students’ thinking and challenging students to support their conclusions. While implementing the project, the teachers need to carry out progress reviews and assessments using various assessment tools. Sharing and showcasing are also very important for project implementation.

  1. Reflecting

At the end of the project, the teachers must take time for the students to reflect, individually and as a group. They need to carry out a quantitative and qualitative analysis of student learning outcomes as well as an analysis of their own professional growth. It is important to share ideas, feelings and experiences with other teachers as this will lead to new inquiries, thus new projects.

Conclusion

In brief, project-based learning prepare students for real-life challenges by implementing different situations.

Visual learning is also a great way to do holistic development among children. If you want to read more about visual learning, then click here to read the complete article with real-life examples.

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