Project Based Learning, Connecting Real Life with Theory

All of us are aware about the projects and assignments that we have done in school which does not require much effort to complete it because it would be based on a single topic or subject. So, the students would be required to only focus on that particular topic and proceed the activity. Nonetheless, the 21 century learning demands students to strengthen their cognitive skills and escape from the rote based learning.

Education is a way to upgrade ourselves about various information that is available and develop skills and techniques to revolutionize the working of a society or a community. We provide education to children not only to get into good grade category but become a useful member who bring about a minuscule change that would probably have a positive impact.

Children should learn by associating ideas by taking real life examples from their surroundings and try to make a connection with their subject of study. The project-based learning is such an activity- based learning which makes children exposed to real life situations.

The Project- Based Learning (PBL) is a systematic method which requires students to be innovative and engage in an intense research to solve complex questions. They should be able to think actively and critically and acquire necessary knowledge and skills and connect their study to the real-world setup. A team of students invented a mobile app which provides air quality readings at various locations around the world. They also took part in raising awareness about air pollution and making global connections highlighting the same issue

What is the structure of PBL?

The structure of PBL varies from one project to another but the fundamental characteristics are as follows:

  1. Inter- disciplinary approach: Inter disciplinary in simple terms means relating to many aspects and this type of learning requires students to learn real- world problems so that they can inculcate in their studies. The PBL demands students to do an extensive research on a matter where they need to engage in inquiry, project construction and solution building.

  2. Rigorous learning method: The PBL is more complex because it requires necessary skills and knowledge to carry out the given project. First students need to go through an inquiry which leads to deeper learning not only about their academic content but related to the application of their topic in real-world situations. Further, they would be able to address the challenge of the project and bring out better results.

  3. Student-oriented: Here the teacher’s role is only that of a facilitator who gives proper assistance when needed. Students have to work independently on their project and make decisions on how to demonstrate their work by applying 21 century skills (critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity)

Advantages of PBL

  1. ability to escape children from the boring classroom lectures and involve in an inclusive learning method.

  2. enable educators to have one-on-one interaction with children.

  3. Organized, both student and the facilitator get involved in the learning process unlike the traditional method where half of the responsibility is on the teachers.

  4. The act of making mistakes, questioning and making inquiry would be systematic which would increase their creativity.

Disadvantages of PBL

  1. One of the biggest challenges are preventing it from being disorganized activity. For that, educators need to give proper guidelines, slot schedule and design project plans before the beginning of a project.

  2. Teachers should have defined methodologies to evaluate students accordingly.

  3. Sometimes project varies in content, topic, skill level, duration, teacher’s involvement. Certain project demands participation of the entire class but some only need small groups.

  4. A common issue that teachers face in PBL is of ‘social loafing’. It means when a member in the group puts less effort and teachers fail to spot that. Therefore, teachers should actively monitor the execution of work by each and every student.

Learning requires a lot of patience in internalizing a concept. So, the only way to simplify it is to trying to make a connection with the real-world scenario which would eventually put everything in a broader perspective.


Vinod Kakumanu

Vinod Kakumanu

Founder & Consultant - School Serv

Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.

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