Five Ideas on How to Introduce Students to Project-Based Learning

Traditional learning approaches may not be effective when it comes to teaching students about some concepts. Teaching students about a particular concept and having them memorize it over and over again may not be efficient as compared to project-based learning, which allows students to have a hands-on approach in the entire learning process.

The traditional learning approach makes student absorb a lot of textbook material, attend many lectures and write college life essays. To some students, this can be overwhelming which may hamper their learning. Introducing students to project-based learning can be a step you can take that will help you to impart knowledge to students more directly and efficiently.

Explain the Concept of Project-Based Learning

Explaining and putting across the concept of project-based learning helps students to know the differences between traditional earning approaches and project-based learning. Essentially, students will find it difficult to adapt to project-based learning if they do not have a solid background and adequate information about the whole concept of project-based learning.

It is essential that you highlight the key differences between traditional learning and project-based learning, so that students can have a gist of what they will be learning, and most importantly – how they will be learning in their future classes.

Use Examples

By using examples of past projects, you can effectively introduce students to the concept of project-based learning. A simple example of a model will help students to understand the essence of project-based learning as well as its outcome. A project whose ultimate objective is to create a model of a map of a particular country or a model of a specific process can help students to know the basic tenets of project-based learning.

Since project-based learning is more practical than theoretical, using examples of past projects to introduce students allows students to gain insight into projects.

Give a Demonstration

Explaining the concept of project-based learning and using examples is not enough to introduce students to project-based learning. It only gives them an overview of project-based learning, but it does not delve deep into some of the core aspects of project-based learning. Giving a demonstration allows students to know how project-based learning works, and the various approaches used in project-based learning.

You can form a small group of students and start with them as an example to the rest of the students. In this case, using a simple project will help the students learn since it is just the introductory part. A demonstration allows students to see the actual processes and approaches involved in project-based learning, the timelines involved, the set goals, and the coordination of effort to achieve the set objectives. This way, students get to know more about project-based learning and helps to equip them with the basics.

Posters and Presentations

Since projects require a step by step approach, the use of posters and presentations is an efficient way of introducing students to project-based learning. Posters and presentations that give more visual guidance to a project are interactive, and this can help to accelerate the process of introducing students to project-based learning. Project-based learning is more practical and visual than theoretical, and by using posters and presentations, students get to understand easier about the whole concept of project-based learning.

The posters and presentations can outline the framework of project-based learning. They might also feature an actual completed project and the steps taken until completion of the model or whatever the end goal of the project was. This way, students get to know about project-based learning and prompts their imagination and creativity. Creativity and imagination are central in project-based learning, and helping students to spur their imagination will make the actual process of project-based learning easier.

Group Work

Project-based learning involves a lot of group work and cooperation among students. If students cannot cooperate and collaborate when working in class or studying, introducing them to project-based learning may prove difficult. Therefore, a focus on group work can help in the introduction of project-based learning to students. Forming groups of equal numbers of students and allowing them to work together on assignment or academic work under traditional approaches can help to infuse the spirit of collaboration and joint efforts in them.

Working in groups is a fundamental aspect when it comes to project-based learning. The step by step process when it comes to creating a model requires input from different people, which necessitates the need for group work. Further, the act that project-based learning mainly relies on timelines and milestones means that collective effort is required to meet some short-term goals in the pursuit of long-term goals, which is the model or the completion of the project in this case. This underscores the importance and the need for group work in this process.

In summary, traditional learning approaches differ significantly with project-based learning. Students who learn under traditional approaches need an appropriate introduction to project-based learning if you aim at using project-based learning in class. Project-based learning requires a lot of collaboration and teamwork, and wiring your students to master the concepts of project-based learning will only be easy if you have a solid introductory process.