ArticlePDF Available

Project-based learning: A review of the literature



Project-based learning (PBL) is an active student-centred form of instruction which is characterised by students’ autonomy, constructive investigations, goal-setting, collaboration, communication and reflection within real-world practices. It has been explored in various contexts and in different phases of schooling, from primary to higher education. The majority of the reviewed studies were based on a quasi-experimental pretest–posttest design with some baseline equivalence established but no random allocation of participants to control and experimental groups, and as a result, a causal link between PBL instruction and positive student outcomes cannot be established with certainty. Modern digital technology, group processes of high quality, teachers’ ability to effectively scaffold students’ learning and provide guidance and support, the balance between didactic instruction with in-depth inquiry methods and well-aligned assessment have been identified in the literature as facilitating factors in the implementation of PBL. The article concludes with six key recommendations considered to be essential for the successful adoption of a PBL approach in the mainstream school setting.
Project-based learning: a review of the literature
Defining characteristics of project-based learning
Project-based learning is a student-centred form of instruction which is based on
three constructivist principles: learning is context-specific, learners are involved
actively in the learning process and they achieve their goals through social
interactions and the sharing of knowledge and understanding (Cocco, 2006). It is
considered to be a particular type of inquiry-based learning where the context of
learning is provided through authentic questions and problems within real-world
practices (Al-Balushi & Al-Aamri, 2014) that lead to meaningful learning experiences
(Wurdinger, Haar, Hugg & Bezon, 2007). Blumenfeld, Fishman, Krajcik, Marx and
Soloway (2000), for example, described the process of project-based science as
‘The presumption is that students need opportunities to construct knowledge by
solving real problems through asking and refining questions, designing and
conducting investigations, gathering, analysing, and interpreting information
and data, drawing conclusions, and reporting findings’ (p.150).
Project-based learning as a form of instruction has clear connections with other
pedagogical approaches, such as problem-based learning among others (Helle,
Tynjälä & Olkinuora, 2006). The focus in both is for participants to achieve a shared
goal through collaboration. In their engagement with a project, students can
encounter problems which need to be addressed in order to construct and present
the end product in response to the driving question. The main difference between
the two is that, whereas students in problem-based learning are primarily focused on
the process of learning, project-based learning needs to culminate in an end product
(see also Blumenfeld et al., 1991). Project-based learning has also been compared
with other pedagogical practices such as experiential or collaborative learning. As
Helle et al. (2006) argue, project work is a collaborative form of learning as all
participants need to contribute to the shared outcome and has elements of
experiential learning with active reflection and conscious engagement rather than
passive experiences being essential. This study focuses on a review of the relevant
literature on project-based learning as defined above looking at relevant studies
internationally that seek to evaluate benefits to learning. It concludes with six key
recommendations considered to be essential for the successful adoption of a project-
based learning approach in the mainstream school setting.
It has been argued that the freedom and challenge that students experience as a
result of solving the problems that arise in designing and building their projects result
in high levels of student engagement (Wurdinger et al, 2007) due to the cognitive
challenge as well as the strong affective, ethical and aesthetic dimensions that form
part of a well-designed project (Wrigley, 2007). Thomas (2000) identified five
essential characteristics of projects: 1. Centrality, 2. Driving question, 3. Constructive
investigations, 4. Autonomy and 5. Realism, with the importance of student
collaboration, reflection, redrafting, and presentations emphasised in other
publications (Kwon, Warderip & Gomez, 2014; Patton, 2012). The uniqueness of
project-based learning is the construction of an end product, a ‘concrete artefact’
(Helle et al., 2006) which represents students’ new understandings, knowledge and
attitudes regarding the issue under investigation often presented using videos,
photographs, sketches, reports, models and other collected artefacts (Holubova,
It is argued that it can help foster self-regulated learning and can promote pupils’
conceptual knowledge within a systematic process of documenting and reflecting on
learning (Barak, 2012). Students learn to be self-reliant through goal-setting,
planning and organisation, they develop collaboration skills through social learning
and become intrinsically motivated by being encouraged to exercise an element of
choice while learning at their own level (Bell, 2010). Project-based learning has
been explored in various contexts and in different phases of schooling ranging from
the early stages of education through primary and secondary school to higher
Overview of the evidence for the effectiveness of project-based learning
Most of the reviewed studies did not involve random allocation of participants to
control and experimental groups and, as a result, a causal link between project-
based learning instruction and positive student outcomes cannot be established with
certainty. The majority of these studies were based on a quasi-experimental pretest-
posttest design with some baseline equivalence established for the outcomes
measured at the classroom level. Some studies of weaker quality were based on
observations of students’ behaviour, attitudes and accomplishments in a project-
based learning environment without the presence of a comparator group (for
example, Barak & Asad, 2012; ChanLin, 2008; Cuevas, Lee, Hart & Deaktor, 2005;
Morales, Bang & Andre, 2013). Other studies have used state standardised test
averages against which to compare the performance of 7th/8th grade students (Geier
et al., 2008) and 12th grade students (Schneider, Krajcik, Marx & Soloway, 2002).
Sweller, Kirschner and Clark (2007) have emphasised the importance of randomised
controlled experimental studies of different instructional procedures to provide
stronger and more reliable evidence on the effectiveness of project-based learning.
Pre-school and primary school
Implementation of a project-based concept mapping developmental programme to
facilitate children’s experiential reasoning and comprehension of relations (Habok,
2015) reported positive results for the experimental group that attended one of the
two kindergartens in Hungary. In particular, even though the experimental group
started with a disadvantage in achievement, there was a significant increase in this
group’s development compared to the control group. Habok concluded that the use
of concept maps in school practice holds promise as a visual expression tool in
promoting understanding of connections and causalities. Another study with pre-
school science teachers in Sweden (Ljung-Djärf, Magnusson & Peterson, 2014)
argued that a learning study project model (a kind of action research that combines
variation theory with the concept of lesson study) has the potential to promote pre-
school science.
In their quasi-experimental study on the effectiveness of project-based learning in
primary school in Greece, Kaldi, Filippatou and Govaris (2011) argued that primary
age pupils can develop content knowledge and group work skills in addition to
motivation and positive attitudes towards peers from a different ethnic background
through project based-learning instruction. Similarly, Karaçalli and Korur (2014)
conducted a quasi-experimental study in Turkey with fourth-grade science students
(equivalent to Year 5 in the UK) and found a statistically significant effect in terms of
academic achievement and retention of knowledge for the project-based learning
students. A US study that explored the effectiveness of a project-based approach in
2nd grade (equivalent to Year 1 in the UK) social studies and content area literacy
(Halvorsen, Duke, Brugar, Berka & Brown, 2012) reported positive outcomes for low-
SES students and claimed that the project-based learning approach has the potential
to help narrow the gap between low and high-SES students in social studies and
literacy for 2nd grade students. The study employed a ‘design or formative
experiment approach’ (p.10) where six teachers and a subset of their students
participated in the study. Two teachers were from high-SES schools and four
teachers from low-SES schools. The teachers in the low-SES schools implemented
project-based units in their teaching which were developed by the researchers. In
addition to student assessments, data were also collected through classroom
observations and teacher interviews. The study had a number of limitations, such as
a small sample size (N=10-12 from each class with 43 children in low-SES and 20
children in high-SES classrooms), lack of a control group and researcher designed
assessment measures that may be less reliable and valid in comparison to other
published standardised measures.
Secondary school
Al-Balushi and Al-Aamri (2014) conducted a quasi-experimental study with 62 11th
grade female students (equivalent to Year 12 in the UK) in Oman that explored the
effect of environmental science projects on students’ environmental knowledge and
attitudes towards science. Two classes were randomly assigned into an
experimental group and a control group. The findings were positive with the
experimental group significantly outperforming the control group in the
Environmental Knowledge Test and the Science Attitudes Survey. The authors
acknowledged, however, that a novelty effect could not be ruled out as students’
enthusiasm in the experimental group in using new technology to design their
products could have led to the more positive results in the post-tests.
In history learning, Hernández-Ramos and De La Paz (2009) had eighth grade
students in the US (equivalent to Year 9 in the UK) learn to create multimedia mini-
documentaries in a six-week history unit. Compared to students who received
traditional instruction, students that engaged in the project-based learning curriculum
demonstrated positive affective benefits and significant gains in content knowledge
as well as historical thinking skills. This was a quasi-experimental study using a
pretest-postttest design and there was no random allocation of students or teachers
to control and experimental conditions. Therefore, it cannot be inferred with certainty
that the knowledge gains are necessarily the result of technology-enhanced project-
based learning at the intervention school as other teaching and learning activities
could have contributed to the positive results.
Another quasi-experimental study carried out in the US (Hsu, Van Dyke, Chen &
Smith, 2015) explored seventh graders’ (equivalent to Year 8 in the UK) development
of argumentation skills and construction of science knowledge in a graph-oriented
computer-assisted project-based learning environment. A significant difference in
science knowledge, counterargument and rebuttal skills was found in favour of the
treatment condition. In another US study, Geier et al. (2008) reported that 7th and 8th
grade students that participated in project-based inquiry science units showed
increased science content understanding, better process skills and significantly
higher pass rates on the statewide test over the remainder of the district population.
Boaler (1998) conducted a longitudinal study of mathematics instruction comparing
an open, project-based environment to a traditional approach and it followed two
cohorts of students in two British secondary schools from Year 9 to Year 11. Even
though this study did not involve the random allocation of participants, it employed a
closely-matched control group in terms of socioeconomic status, prior mathematics
instruction and attainment. A variety of instruments were used to measure students’
skills, attitudes and attainment. The main finding was that the two groups developed
different forms of knowledge. The students learning mathematics in the project-
based environment developed conceptual understanding which often required
creative and deeper thinking in contrast to the procedural knowledge acquired by the
traditional instruction group which was mainly based on information recall. In
addition, more students at the project-based school succeeded in passing the
General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) at the end of the three-year
study than those students receiving the traditional instruction.
Other studies have shown higher learner motivation in a project-based learning
environment with fourteen and fifteen year old girls in Israel showing increased
interest in learning scientific-technological subjects (Barak and Asad, 2012). Project-
based learning as related to STEM (science, technology, engineering and
mathematics) curriculum design for female senior high school students in Taiwan led
to gains in terms of enjoyment, engagement with the project and the ability to
combine theory and practice effectively (Lou, Liu, Shih & Tseng, 2011). This study
was an in-depth investigation of 84 students’ cognition, behavioural intentions and
attitudes in the project-based STEM environment and involved text analysis and
questionnaire survey as the main data collection tools.
he 10-11 year old students in ChanLin’s (2008) qualitative study in Taiwan developed
skills in synthesising and elaborating knowledge and in engaging in scientific
exploratory tasks with the use of technology. Project-based learning has also been
explored as a method of instruction with low-achieving students in Israel (Doppelt,
2003) and the US (Cuevas et al., 2005), and with second chance school students in
Greece (Koutrouba & Karageorgou, 2013) with positive outcomes. Doppelt (2003)
found that scientific-technological project-based learning helped improve low-
achieving students’ motivation and self-image by allowing students to succeed early
on in the process and led to more students achieving the college admittance
requirements. Doppelt’s study was a field research project that used qualitative and
quantitative tools (portfolio analysis, observations, interviews, matriculation
examination results and assessment of students’ projects) with a sample of 54 10th to
12th grade students (fifteen to eighteen years old).
Encouraging results were also reported with high school high achievers in Israel
where 60 students from three experimental classes in comprehensive high schools
exhibited a significant increase in formal technological knowledge and skills and
more positive attitudes towards technology in comparison to the students in the three
control classes which were drawn from technological high schools (Mioduser &
Betzer, 2007). However, the different type of schools involved suggests differences
in student take-up and characteristics, and indicate an unequal student comparison
which limits the strength of the findings.Some studies have shown mixed results.
For example, in their quasi-experimental study with 13 year old children (grade 8)
taking computer courses in Greece, Boubouka and Papanikolaou (2013) found no
significant effect of project-based learning on student achievement but a statistically
positive effect on self-perceived learning performances.
Project-based learning studies in higher education and in pre-service teacher training
A number of studies have explored the effectiveness of project-based learning in
higher education in different countries. Most of these studies have focussed on
engineering education. For example, Ruikar and Demian (2013) made links with
industry engagement through multimedia podcasting in the UK, Hassan and his
colleagues (2008) adopted an integrated, multicourse, project-based learning
methodology in electronic engineering in Spain and Fernandes et al. (2014) followed
the project-led education model developed by Powell and Weenk (2003), to engage
students in learning at a University in Portugal. In Australia, Stewart (2007)
investigated the link between self-directed learning readiness and project-based
learning outcomes in a postgraduate management course and found that self-
directed learning readiness, such as having high self-management skills, was a key
enabler for achievement learning outcomes from project-based learning. Another
study (Gibbes & Carson, 2014) investigated project-based language learning using
Activity Theory in a university language programme in Ireland. This study reported
mixed results in learning outcomes for the study participants because of
contradictions found in the activity system (e.g. inequitable divisions of labour,
perceived lack of time due to community obligations or opposition to the rules
governing the activity in the modules).
Some studies have applied the principles of project-based learning with pre-service
teachers and claimed that student-teachers can become better problem-solvers
(Mettas & Constantinou, 2008), can gain benefits from formative assessment (Frank
& Barzilai, 2002) and become more aware of the object of learning which can then
lead to enhanced learning among pre-school children (Ljung-Djärf, Magnusson &
Peterson, 2014).
The review of the literature indicated certain factors that can help facilitate the
adoption of project-based teaching instruction in the classroom. These are
summarised in the section that follows.
Facilitating factors in the implementation of project-based learning instruction
On the basis of their study and findings, Al-Balushi and Al-Aamri (2014) concluded
that project-based instruction is not more demanding than traditional instruction in
terms of resources and time and can be implemented with few resources, inside the
school building and within the time allocated for the study of particular topics.
Modern digital technology is a major enabler for students to comfortably engage with
the process of designing and developing their project as they can document the
whole process and easily share their creations in a digital format (Patton, 2012).
Effective use of technology as an integrated part of the pedagogical processes has
been found to help both weakly and strongly performing students construct
knowledge in the project-based learning environment (Erstad, 2002). However, Bell
(2010) points out that children need to be guided and supported in using technology
safely and effectively to gain the creativity affordances that technological involvement
can offer.
Furthermore, group processes of high quality (conceptualised as group members
showing positive interdependence, individual accountability, equal participation and
social skills) have been found to play a pivotal role to the success of collaboration in
project-based learning (Cheng, Lam & Chan, 2008). High quality group work
becomes even more important when challenges associated with social class
differences, gender and attainment hierarchies have been found to affect power
relations among some students in the project-based learning group leading to
unequal learning possibilities with some pupils enjoying more agency than others
(Crossouard, 2012). Crossouard argues that teachers need to be better supported,
both within initial teacher education and continuing professional development, to
develop more sensitivity towards the social and gendered hierarchies that can often
be implicit in pupils’ discourse, particularly in relation to peer assessment
interactions. Issues of social equity can thus become part of the pedagogic focus
and the language used in the classroom in order to explore social relations.
The successful implementation of project-based learning in the classroom lies on the
teacher’s ability to effectively scaffold students’ learning, motivate, support and guide
them along the way. Effective scaffolded instruction within high-quality experiences
will help reduce students’ ‘cognitive load’ (Hmelo-Silver, Duncan & Chinn, 2007), will
enable them to make small successful steps and ultimately achieve ‘cognitive growth
just beyond their reach’ (Bell, 2010, p.41). Leaving scope for learner control of the
learning process is crucial with teachers and students having to work together to
reflect upon the purpose of the project, set clear and realistic goals, and make
decisions regarding the pace, sequencing and content of learning (Helle et al.,
2006). In scaffolding students’ learning, teachers may need to give students insight
into the content of the desired response in project-based learning in order to allow
them to recognise and take up the learning opportunities afforded in the classroom
(Gresalfi, Barnes & Cross, 2012). Based on their case study findings in the US,
Grant and Branch (2005) concluded that the exploration of cross-disciplinary units
and team teaching should be emphasised so that students can understand how their
abilities can be used across domains and avoid the fragmentation of skills and
The level of support that teachers get from the school’s senior management (Erstad,
2002) and from other colleagues is of particular importance. Lam, Cheng and Choy
(2010) concluded that when teachers felt well supported by their schools in terms of
their competence and autonomy, they were more motivated to implement and persist
in using project-based learning.
The use of a two-phase project-based approach has been put forth in the literature
as an effective approach to first help the students become sufficiently competent by
developing the knowledge and skills needed to then be able to design and make
products independently in the second phase (see, for example, Drain, 2010; Good &
Jarvenin, 2007). Drain (2010) used the Cognitive Apprenticeship framework which,
on the basis of situated cognition theory, claims that learning is maximised when it
occurs in real life contexts and students engage with authentic problems. This was a
case study of a primary school class (Year 5) in New Zealand and their teacher
during a technology unit. The first part of the unit aimed to help pupils develop
knowledge of technological concepts and procedures through appropriate activities
while the second half enabled pupils to be creative and exercise initiative in
designing and creating their projects. The importance of balancing didactic
instruction with in-depth inquiry methods has also been emphasised by Grant and
Branch (2005). Student assessment needs to be aligned to the unique features of
the project-based learning process and outcomes with teachers identifying suitable
assessment moments where they can first generate ‘teachable moments’ (Lehman,
George, Buchanan & Rush, 2006) and then create formative scaffolds to guide and
support their students along the project process (Hmelo-Silver et al., 2007).
Assessment in project-based learning has been described as ‘authentic’ (Bell, 2010,
p.43) which, in addition to measuring a child’s performance via rubrics, it primarily
focuses on reflection, self and peer evaluation. Self-assessment skills can help
students learn to regulate their own learning and acquire ownership of the learning
process (Ertmer & Simons, 2005).
How teachers can support project-based learning in the classroom – what the evidence
Mergendoller and Thomas (2005) interviewed twelve expert teachers in project-
based learning in the US to elicit the teachers’ strategies for implementing and
managing the project, and maximizing its success. These teachers were recognised
as experts within the national PBL community, they had trained other teachers and
had made presentations on project-based learning at various professional
conferences and workshops. Forty three questions formed part of the semi-
structured interview schedule and covered aspects of overall planning and project
planning, carrying out the project and the future of project work in the classroom.
The interview transcripts were coded into narrative segments that led to themes
about aspects of project implementation such as time management, getting started
and managing student groups. This analysis revealed a number of successful
techniques employed by expert teachers in project-based learning and were grouped
around seven overarching themes and 18 sub-themes. Each sub-theme comprised
a number of principles or guidelines which aim to provide practical advice to teachers
and are summarised below under each theme.
1. Time management – This theme relates to scheduling projects effectively by
coordinating project schedules with other teachers, for example, or use block
scheduling to increase flexibility, and be able to hold to timelines by building in
a 20% overrun when planning a project or learning when to enforce and when
to extend a time line.
2. Getting started This theme is about orienting students, i.e. getting them
think about the project well before they begin, giving them a rubric that clearly
explains what they are expected to search for and try to accomplish and
jointly agreeing on grading criteria before the start of the project. The ‘getting
started’ theme is also about encouraging thoughtful work early on in the
project in developing a research plan and a suitable research question while
facilitating a sense of mission.
3. Establishing a culture that stresses student self-management – Here,
responsibility is shifted from the teacher to students where students are
involved in project design, they make decisions for themselves and they are
encouraged to learn how to learn.
4. Managing student groups The emphasis is on establishing the appropriate
grouping pattern, promoting full participation and keeping track of each
group’s progress through discussion, monitoring and recording evidence of
5. Working with others outside the classroom, such as other teachers, parents
and people from the community in order to work out the feasibility and nature
of external partnerships.
6. Getting the most out of technological resources, such as judging the suitability
of using technology for the project, making efficient use of the internet by
being encouraged to make informed choices in exploring relevant web sites
and developing critical thinking skills.
7. Assessing students and evaluating projects – This final theme refers, firstly, to
the importance of grading students by using a variety of assessment methods,
including individual and group grades and giving emphasis to individual over
group performance and, secondly, to adequately debriefing projects by
demonstrating reflection strategies and collecting formative evaluation
information from students about the project and how it might be improved.
Starting from the premise that project-based teaching assumes significant changes
in classroom practices, Krajcik, Blumenfled, Mars and Soloway (1994) described
how teachers can learn to address the new challenges presented through the
dynamic interplay of three elements in middle school science teaching: teachers’
collaboration with consultants and university personnel to share and critique ideas,
plans and teaching activities; classroom enactment where teachers plan and carry
out new practices in the classroom in an attempt to construct and generate
understandings about what is possible in their classroom, modify their thinking and
adopt the most appropriate teaching strategies; teachers’ reflection on their teaching
via journals, case reports or videotapes of classroom implementation to develop the
knowledge that will help promote student learning.
Recommendations made on the basis of the evidence
On the basis of the literature review, the following six key recommendations can be
made which are considered to be essential for the successful adoption of a project-
based learning approach in the mainstream school setting.
1. Student support: students need to be effectively guided and supported;
emphasis should be given on effective time management and student self-
management including making safe and productive use of technological
2. Teacher support: regular support needs to be offered to teachers through
regular networking and professional development opportunities. The support
from the school senior management is crucial.
3. Effective group work: high quality group work will help ensure that students
share equal levels of agency and participation.
4. Balance between didactic instruction with independent inquiry method work
will ensure that students develop a certain level of knowledge and skills
before being comfortably engaged in independent work.
5. Assessment emphasis on reflection, self and peer evaluation: evidence of
progress needs to be regularly monitored and recorded.
6. An element of student choice and autonomy throughout the project-based
learning process will help students develop a sense of ownership and control
over their learning.
Al-Balushi, S. M., & Al-Aamri, S. S. (2014). The effect of environmental science
projects on students’ environmental knowledge and science attitudes. International
Research in Geographical & Environmental Education, 23(3), 213-227.
Barak, M. (2012). From "doing" to "doing with learning": reflection on an effort to
promote self-regulated learning in technological projects in high school. European
Journal of Engineering Education, 37(1), 105-116.
Barak, M. & Asad, K. (2012). Teaching image-processing concepts in junior high
schools: boys’ and girls’ achievement and attitudes towards technology. Research in
Science & Technological Education, 30(1), 81-105.
Bell, S. (2010). Project-based learning for the 21st century: skills for the future. The
Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 83(2), 39-43.
Blumenfeld, P.C., Soloway, E., Marx, R.W, Krajcik, J.S., Guzdial, M. and Palincsar, A.
(1991). Motivating project-based learning: sustaining the doing, supporting the
learning, Educational Psychologist 26, 369–398.
Blumenfeld, P., Fishman, B.J., Krajcik, J., Marx, R.W. & Soloway, E. (2000). Creating
usable innovations in systemic reform: scaling up technology-embedded project-
based science in urban schools. Educational Psychologist, 35(3), 149-164.
Boaler, J. (1998). Open and closed mathematics: student experiences and
understandings. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 29(1), 41-62.
Boubouka, M., & Papanikolaou, K. A. (2013). Alternative assessment methods in
technology enhanced project-based learning. International Journal of Learning
Technology, 8(3), 263-296.
ChanLin, L.J. (2008). Technology integration applied to project-based learning in
science. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 45(1), 55-65.
Cheng, R. W., Lam, S.., & Chan, C. (2008). When high achievers and low achievers
work in the same group: the role of group heterogeneity and processes in project-
based learning. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 78(2), 205-221.
Cocco, S. (2006). Student leadership development: the contribution of project-based
learning. Unpublished Master’s thesis. Royal Roads University, Victoria, BC.
Crossouard, B. (2012). Absent presences: the recognition of social class and gender
dimensions within peer assessment interactions. British Educational Research
Journal, 38(5), 731-748.
Cuevas, P., Lee, O., Hart, J. & Deaktor, R. (2005). Improving science inquiry with
elementary students of diverse backgrounds. Journal of Research in Science
Teaching, 42 (3), 337-357.
Doppelt, Y. (2003). Implementation and assessment of project-based learning in a
flexible environment. International Journal of Technology and Design Education,
13(3), 255-272.
Drain, M. (2010). Justification of the dual-phase project-based pedagogical approach
in a primary school technology unit. Design and Technology Education: an
International Journal, 15(1), 7-14.
Erstad, O. (2002). Norwegian students using digital artifacts in project-based
learning. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 18(4), 427-437.
Ertmer, P.A. & Simons, K.D. (2005). Scaffolding teachers’ efforts to implement
problem-based learning. International Journal of Learning, 12(4), 319-328.
Frank, M. & Barzilai, A. (2004). Integrating alternative assessment in a project-based
learning course for pre-service science and technology teachers. Assessment &
Evaluation in Higher Education, 29(1), 41-61.
Geier, R., Blumenfeld, P.C., Marx, R.W., Krajcik, J.S., Fishman, B. Soloway, E. &
Clay-Chambers, J. (2008). Standardized test outcomes for students engaged in
inquiry-based science curricula in the context of urban reform. Journal of Research
in Science Teaching, 45(8), 922-939.
Gibbes, M., & Carson, L. (2014). Project-based language learning: an activity theory
analysis. Innovation in Language Learning & Teaching, 8(2), 171-189.
Good, K. & Jarvenin, E. (2007). An examination of the starting point approach to
design and technology. Journal of Technology Studies, 33(2), 99-107.
Grant, M.M. & Branch, R.M. (2005). Project-based learning in a middle school:
tracing abilities through the artifacts of learning. Journal of Research on Technology
in Education, 38(1), 65-98.
Gresalfi, M. S., Barnes, J., & Cross, D. (2012). When does an opportunity become
an opportunity? Unpacking classroom practice through the lens of ecological
psychology. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 80(1-2), 249-267.
Fernandes, S., Mesquita, D., Flores, M. A., & Lima, R. M. (2014). Engaging students
in learning: findings from a study of project-led education. European Journal of
Engineering Education, 39(1), 55-67.
Habok, A. (2015). Implementation of a project-based concept mapping
developmental programme to facilitate children's experiential reasoning and
comprehension of relations. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal,
23(1), 129-142.
Halvorsen, A.L., Duke, N.K., Brugar, K., Berka, M. & Brown, J. (2012). Narrowing the
achievement gap in second-grade social studies and content area literacy: the
promise of a project-based approach. Working paper 26, The Education Policy
Center: Michigan State University.
Hassan, H., Domínguez, C., Martínez, J.-M., Perles, A., Albaladejo, J., & Capella, J.-
V. (2008). Integrated multicourse project-based learning in electronic engineering.
International Journal of Engineering Education, 24(3), 581-591.
Helle, L., Tynjälä, P. & Olkinuora, E. (2006). Project-based learning in post-
secondary education – theory, practice and rubber sling shots. Higher Education, 51,
Hernández-Ramos, P. and De La Paz, S. (2009). Learning history in middle school
by designing multimedia in a project-based learning experience. Journal of Research
on Technology in Education, 42(2), 151-173.
Hmelo-Silver, C.E., Duncan, R.G. & Chinn, C.A. (2007). Scaffolding and
achievement in problem-based and inquiry learning: a response to Kirschner, Sweller
and Clark (2006). Educational Psychologist, 42(2), 99-107.
Holubova, R. (2008). Effective teaching methods – project-based learning in physics.
US-China Education Review, 12(5), 27-35.
Kaldi, S., Filippatou, D., & Govaris, C. (2011). Project-based learning in primary
schools: effects on pupils' learning and attitudes. Education 3-13, 39(1), 35-47.
Karaçalli, S. & Korur, F. (2014). The effects of project-based learning on students’
academic achievement, attitude, and retention of knowledge: the subject of
“electricity in our lives”. School Science and Mathematics, 114(5), 224-235.
Koutrouba, K., & Karageorgou, E. (2013). Cognitive and socio-affective outcomes of
project-based learning: Perceptions of Greek Second Chance School students.
Improving Schools, 16(3), 244-260.
Krajcik, J.S., Blumenfeld, P.C., Marx, R.W. & Soloway, E. (1994). A collaborative
model for helping middle grade science teachers learn project-based instruction. The
Elementary School Journal, 94 (5), 483-497.
Kwon, S. M., Wardrip, P. S., & Gomez, L. M. (2014). Co-design of interdisciplinary
projects as a mechanism for school capacity growth. Improving Schools, 17(1), 54-
Lam, S.-F., Cheng, R. W.-y., & Choy, H. C. (2010). School support and teacher
motivation to implement project-based learning. Learning and Instruction, 20(6), 487-
Lehman, J.D., George, M., Buchanan, P. & Rush, M. (2006). Preparing teachers to
use problem-centered inquiry-based science: lessons from a four-year professional
development project. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 1(1), 76-
Ljung-Djärf, A., Magnusson, A., & Peterson, S. (2014). From Doing to Learning:
Changed focus during a pre-school learning study project on organic decomposition.
International Journal of Science Education, 36(4), 659-676.
Lou, S.J., Liu, Y.H., Shih, R.C., Tseng, K.H. (2011). Effectiveness of on-line STEM
project-based learning for female senior high school students, 27, 399-410.
Mergendoller, J.R. & Thomas, J.W. (2005). Managing project based learning:
principles from the field. Buck Institute for Education: California.
Mettas, A., & Constantinou, C. P. (2008). The Technology Fair: a project-based
learning approach for enhancing problem solving skills and interest in design and
technology education. International Journal of Technology and Design Education,
18(1), 79-100.
Mioduser, D., & Betzer, N. (2008). The contribution of project-based-learning to high-
achievers' acquisition of technological knowledge and skills. International Journal of
Technology and Design Education, 18(1), 59-77.
Morales, T.M., Bang, E. & Andre, T. (2013). A one-year case study: understanding
the rich potential of project-based learning in a virtual reality class for high school
students. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 22(5), 791-806.
Patton, M. (2012). Work that matters: the teacher’s guide to project-based learning.
London: Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
Ruikar, K. & Demian, P. (2013). Podcasting to engage industry in project-based
learning. International Journal of Engineering Education, 29(6), 1410-1419.
Schneider, R.M., Krajcik, J., Marx, R.W. & Soloway, E. (2002). Performance of
students in project-based science classrooms on a national measure of science
achievement. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 39(5), 410-422.
Stewart, R. A. (2007). Investigating the link between self-directed learning readiness
and project-based learning outcomes: the case of international Masters students in
an engineering management course. European Journal of Engineering Education,
32(4), 453-465.
Sweller, J., Kirschner, P.A. & Clark, R.E. (2007). Why minimally guided teaching
techniques do not work: a reply to commentaries. Educational Psychologist, 42(2),
Wrigley, T. (2007). Projects, stories and challenges: more open architectures for
school learning. In S. Bell, S. Harkness & G. White (Eds), Storyline past, present
and future (166-181). University of Strathclyde: Glasgow.
Wurdinger, S., Haar, J., Hugg, R., & Bezon, J. (2007). A qualitative study using
project-based learning in a mainstream middle school. Improving Schools, 10(2),
... In other words, teachers are encouraged to plan their lessons such that students actively participate through engaging learning projects. As a form of student-centered instruction, project based learning emphasises the importance of students' active participation in the learning process, hence real-world situations are highly suggested to be used to provide the context for learning through authentic questions and problems within the projects students will work on (Al-Balushi & Al-Aamri, 2014; Kokotsaki et al., 2016). This implies that students are expected to be able to connect materials and concepts as well as real-life situations they experience every day, so that they are able to understand and solve problems both in and out of the class. ...
... Apart from that, the learning activities designed in this module place a greater emphasis on project-based learning, in which students take an active participation through interesting projects. As project-based learning places a stress on students' active engagement in the learning process, it is best suggested to use real-world events to frame lessons through authentic questions and problems in the projects they will complete (Al-Balushi & Al-Aamri, 2014;Kokotsaki et al., 2016;Mardhiyah et al., 2021). Furthermore, the designed modules were then validated by a media expert and a material expert. ...
Full-text available
The presence of the Merdeka Curriculum as a new curriculum in Indonesia requires teachers to be able to adapt to these changes. On the other hand, there still needs to be more teacher references in implementing meaningful and character learning as aspired to through this new curriculum. Therefore, this development research aims to develop STEM-based teaching modules for 4th-grade elementary schools integrated with the Pancasila Student Profile. This type of research is developed using the ADDIE development model (Analyse, Design, Development, Implement, Evaluate). This research involved teachers and 50 grade 4 students in one of the public elementary schools in Indonesia. The modules were developed based on the needs of teachers and students obtained through observation, interviews, and diagnostic tests on students. Data analysis techniques using qualitative and quantitative descriptive analysis. The study's results, namely the validation of the experts on the module, showed a very good category for the material, display, and graphic aspects. The developed module is considered very practical for teachers in the classroom, while the student response to learning using the module is very good. It has a direct impact on student learning outcomes which are very satisfying. Thus, the developed module is feasible and can be an alternative reference for teachers in carrying out STEM-based learning by integrating the values of the Pancasila Student Profile.
... By organizing their learning around a particular real-world project that had expected deliverables and outcomes, they were able to engage deeply in collaborative learning and acquire a variety of skills and competencies including research skills, facilitation and community engagement skills, report writing acumen, presentation skills, and skills for teamwork. Project-based learning in other contexts has been found to allow for relevant, in-depth exploration of a particular topic, as well as the acquisition of essential skills for real world success (Kokotsaki, Menzie & Wiggins, 2016). ...
Full-text available
COVID-19 and the global pandemic significantly shifted social work field education and required innovations in how practicum experiences could simultaneously meet experiential learning objectives and maintain safety. Remote practicums where students were connected to an agency/organization but completed all their learning/service delivery and supervision virtually was one of these innovations. As a quality assurance exercise, the Chair of the Field Education Program at the University of British Columbia (UBC) School of Social Work interviewed four MSW students about their experiences in remote practicums. This article describes some of the benefits and challenges outlined by the students and illustrates possible practices and policies that the UBC School of Social Work field team can make to harness the learning from these experiences.
... Ao buscar na literatura por trabalhos que abordam a aplicação do PjBL no ensino superior, observa-se que estes possuem o foco em disciplinas de Engenharia, devido ao seu caráter prático e de aplicação (Kokotsaki, Menzies, & Wiggins, 2016). Porém, entende-se que existe um horizonte favorável para expandir a aplicação do PjBL, necessitando um preparo e esforço conjunto da equipe docente e discente. ...
Full-text available
O período de pandemia da COVID-19 caracterizado pela adoção das práticas de distanciamento social trouxe consigo desafios e oportunidades de inovação nas práticas de ensino. No caso das disciplinas que utilizavam um aparato experimental de laboratório, observou-se uma demanda crescente por recursos de simulação, emulação e os chamados laboratórios remotos. Por mais que os laboratórios remotos sejam vistos como um poderoso recurso para mitigar as perdas de ensino-aprendizagem de um laboratório físico, seu uso de forma isolada não é o ideal, pois o aluno não possui um contato direto com os componentes utilizados. Neste sentido, aqui é proposto o conceito de “HomeLab”, que consiste na integração entre o laboratório remoto e a própria residência do aluno utilizando o protocolo MQTT, permitindo com que o aluno interaja diretamente com o laboratório remoto por meio de dispositivos de Internet das Coisas instalados em sua residência. Um estudo de caso é apresentado no contexto de uma disciplina de laboratório de eletrônica digital, onde os alunos realizaram projetos explorando este recurso. Além do protocolo MQTT, foram utilizados tecnologias de Internet das Coisas e o aprendizado baseado em projetos. Cinco projetos foram desenvolvidos com sucesso e permitiram aos alunos desenvolver habilidades técnicas de prototipagem e integração com sensores e atuadores embarcados.
... PBL is one of the right models to instill entrepreneurial character into the learning process in schools. PBL is a model who is required of active, student-centered teaching in the form of student independence, constructive inquiry, goal setting, collaboration, communication, which are reflected in everyday life [5]. Through PBL students will be actively involved both individually and in groups [6]. ...
... The enhancement of CT skills among students in the fundamental physics course is due to the hybrid E-PjBL factor supported by the presence of assistive virtual technology. The values taught effectively in PjBL have a positive impact on students' problemsolving skills [47], [48] and thinking competency in the context of the studied material [11], [49]. Students' thinking competency is sharpened through contextual and meaningful learning experiences, such as in ethnoscience learning [50]. ...
Full-text available
The study explores the implementation of a novel pedagogical approach, hybrid ethnoscience-project based learning (E-PjBL) integrated with virtual assistive technology (VAT), to cultivate CT skills among students in a basic physics course. The E-PjBL framework integrates relevant cultural contexts and real-world projects into the physics curriculum. The presence of VAT provides a visual learning experience regarding ethnoscience contexts while also serving as a means to explain physics concepts at a high level of abstraction. The findings of our experiments reveal that students exposed to this hybrid approach show significant improvement in their CT skills, such as analysis, inference, evaluation, and decision-making. This research contributes to the growing knowledge of effective pedagogies that support the development of CT skills in the context of physics.
... Esta perspectiva se ve reflejada en la afirmación de Henson (2003) quien señala que el aprendizaje se vuelve significativo cuando los estudiantes son partícipes activos en la construcción de su conocimiento. En respuesta a esta necesidad, han emergido variadas modalidades pedagógicas, como el aprendizaje basado en problemas, proyectos, indagación y comunidad (Espinoza-Figueroa et al., 2021;Ginaya et al., 2020;Kokotsaki et al., 2016;Quaranto y Stanley, 2016;Wessels et al., 2020). Estos enfoques priorizan el desarrollo del pensamiento crítico que integra teoría y praxis, superando el mero ejercicio de reproducción de información (Decker-Lange, 2018). ...
Full-text available
El estudio exploró percepciones de docentes y estudiantes en universidades de Cuenca, Ecuador, sobre la investigación en educación turística. Utilizando grupos focales y cafés científicos, destacó la necesidad de una formación investigativa más integral en turismo, enfatizando su rol esencial, promoviendo el pensamiento crítico y considerando brechas curriculares. Asimismo, enfatiza la relevancia de conectar la investigación con demandas territoriales y laborales. Palabras clave: educación en turismo; investigación; educación superior; estudiantes y docentes Abstract This study investigated the perceptions of lecturers and students at universities in Cuenca, Ecuador, regarding tourism education research. Employing focus groups and scientific cafes highlighted the need for more comprehensive research training in tourism, emphasizing its essential role, fostering critical thinking, and addressing curricular gaps. Furthermore, it underscores the importance of aligning research with regional and employment demand. 1. Introducción La consolidación del turismo como disciplina científica en los últimos años ha subrayado la importancia de integrar procesos de investigación que vinculen la teoría con la práctica. A pesar de la creciente producción 1 Docente-investigadora. Grupo de investigación PREIT-tour. Universidad de Cuenca. Ecuador.
Full-text available
To respond to construction industry-specific requirements for civil engineers, university teachers need to provide opportunities for students to develop their generic and professional skills. This article describes the use of a novel intervention of project-based learning-PjBL with the consultative approach-to teach Lean Construction and the influence of this method on the development of students' generic and professional skills. In this Lean course, teams of students carried out projects, in a consultative manner, to manage the real-life challenges that local companies were facing. Data on students' perceptions were collected through reflection documents written by students. Findings indicated that introducing students to an intervention of PjBL did expose students, especially, to learning to express themselves verbally and in writing, working as a team and focusing on the current problem. Particularly, project work, team work, meetings, and seminars were perceived as effective methods for advancing these skills.
Full-text available
Many innovative approaches to education such as problem-based learning (PBL) and inquiry learning (IL) situate learning in problem-solving or investigations of complex phenomena. Kirschner, Sweller, and Clark (2006)45. Kirschner , P. A. , Sweller , J. and Clark , R. E. 2006. Why minimal guidance during instruction does not work: An analysis of the failure of constructivist, discovery, problem-based, experiential, and inquiry-based teaching. Educational Psychologist., 41: 75–86. [Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®]View all references grouped these approaches together with unguided discovery learning. However, the problem with their line of argument is that IL and PBL approaches are highly scaffolded. In this article, we first demonstrate that Kirschner et al. have mistakenly conflated PBL and IL with discovery learning. We then present evidence demonstrating that PBL and IL are powerful and effective models of learning. Far from being contrary to many of the principles of guided learning that Kirschner et al. discussed, both PBL and IL employ scaffolding extensively thereby reducing the cognitive load and allowing students to learn in complex domains. Moreover, these approaches to learning address important goals of education that include content knowledge, epistemic practices, and soft skills such as collaboration and self-directed learning.
Full-text available
The present questionnaire-based study was conducted in 2010 in order to examine 677 Greek Second Chance School (SCS) students' perceptions about the cognitive and socio-affective outcomes of project-based learning. Data elaboration, statistical and factor analysis showed that the participants found that project-based learning offered a second chance to develop various cognitive skills regarded as professional qualities facilitating their re-integration in society. It also showed that socio-affective skills are developed during project-based learning. The successful acquisition of skills such as persistence, willingness, cooperativeness, creativity and initiative, according to the present work, depends on and is linked to each learner's personal experiences, traits, needs, interests and objectives which during project-based learning are engaged but subordinated to social, cooperative objectives and expectations. Project-based learning provided in SCSs is, therefore, considered to be a powerful means in fighting social marginalization, stigmatization and labelling of school dropouts.
Full-text available
This article describes a study in which eighth grade students in one school learned to create multimedia mini-documentaries in a six-week history unit on early 19th-century U.S. history. The authors examined content knowledge tests, group projects, and attitude and opinion surveys to determine relative benefits for students who participated in a technology-assisted project-based learning experience, and contrasted their experiences to those of students who received a more Traditional form of instruction. Results from content knowledge measures showed significant gains for students in the project-based learning condition as compared to students in the comparison school. Students’ work in the intervention condition also revealed growth in their historical thinking skills, as many were able to grasp a fundamental understanding that history is more than presenting facts. Implications and suggestions for technology-enhanced project-based learning experiences are indicated.
Full-text available
The current study explores the effectiveness of involving students in environmental science projects for their environmental knowledge and attitudes towards science. The study design is a quasi-experimental pre-post control group design. The sample was 62 11th-grade female students studying at a public school in Oman. The sample was divided into two groups: an experimental group (N D 34) which conducted five different environmental-based projects for two months and a control group (N D 28) which studied using the traditional methods. For the purpose of study, two instruments were designed: the Environmental Knowledge Test (EKT) and the Science Attitudes Survey (SAS). The results indicated that students’ involvement in environmental projects had a statistically significant positive impact on their environmental knowledge and science attitudes. The experimental group significantly outperformed the control group in both instruments. The results also indicated that the projects that made the most impact were those that required students to produce enjoyable and unusual final products such as a documentary movie, a school-wide campaign, and school-wide environmental exhibit. This promising result is what distinguishes the current study: that PBL could be implemented with few resources, inside the school building and within the assigned time by the official teacher guide for the undertaken topics.
The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to explore how seventh graders in a suburban school in the United States developed argumentation skills and science knowledge in a project-based learning environment that incorporated a graph-oriented, computer-assisted application. A total of 54 students (three classes) comprised this treatment condition and were engaged in a project-based learning environment that incorporated a graph-oriented, computer-assisted application, whereas a total of 57 students (three classes) comprised the control condition and were engaged in a project-based learning environment without this graph-oriented, computer-assisted application. Verbal collaborative argumentation was recorded and the students' post essays were collected. A random effects analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted and a significant difference in science knowledge about alternative energies between conditions was observed. A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted and there was a significant difference in counterargument and rebuttal skills between conditions. A qualitative analysis was conducted to examine how the graph-oriented, computer-assisted application supported students' development of argumentation skills and affected the quality of collaborative argumentation. The difference in argumentation structure and quality of argumentation between conditions might explain a difference in science knowledge as well counterargument and rebuttal skills (argumentation) between both conditions. This study concluded that a project-based learning environment incorporating a graph-oriented, computer-assisted application was effective in improving students' science knowledge and developing their scientific argumentation skills.
This paper reports the findings of a study which observed students' (aged 10-11) use of technology during project-based learning activities in science. As part of the overall process of project-based learning, students used computer technology as a tool for collecting information, organising it and presenting it to their peers. Students conducted research (through guided research processes), interacted with peers, teachers and the community (through personal interviews and visits), and displayed their understanding of knowledge through the presentation of web-pages. The results of the study indicate that all of the students achieved their research goals. Students' learning outcomes were observed based on their achievements in relation to developing skills and ability to synthesise and elaborate knowledge, to engage in scientific exploratory tasks, and to use the technology for supporting and reporting their research work. Teacher's support in relation to providing coaching skills is crucial to students' success in a project-based setting.
School readiness evaluations are becoming increasingly popular, and their implementation has become compulsory in an increasing number of kindergartens and schools in Hungary. In recent years, Diagnostic System for Evaluating Development (DIFER), developed by Nagy et al. has been used extensively for the diagnostic study of four- to eight-year-old children. The theoretical background for this study was provided by the theory of meaningful learning and concept mapping, the project method, and two domains of DIFER, i.e. the comprehension of relations and experiential reasoning. The aim of the research was to apply the project method with the support of concept mapping. Our target group consisted of school and preschool kindergarten children. Based on the effect size, it is clear that the experiment was successful and a strong effect was observed. As for the future, applying concept maps and involving this technique in everyday life are called for in more domains.
The purpose of this study was to explore how individual differences—specifically abilities—were used in the construction of computer-mediated learning artifacts while working within a project-based learning environment. A case study design was used with five participants purposively selected from 61 eighth grade geography students at a small, private day school in the southeastern United States. Data were collected through a self-report inventory, interviews, observations, and artifacts. Results indicated that learning artifacts reflected individual differences through blends of abilities while other abilities identified by the participants went untapped or unrecognized. Second, the learning artifacts represented the learners’ knowledge in three ways: system knowledge, domain knowledge, and metacognitive knowledge. However, some knowledge, such as process decision making, went undocumented. Finally, the flexibility in the project-based learning environment allowed the participants to make decisions about their abilities, resources, and plans. Recommendations and implications for teacher educators as well as inservice and preservice teachers are also presented.
The aim of this study is to analyze the effects of project‐based learning on students' academic achievement, attitude, and retention of knowledge in relation to the subject of “Electricity in Our Lives” in a fourth‐grade science course. The study was conducted in a quasi‐experimental design as a “pre‐test, post‐test with control group.” In the experimental group, the unit was taught through the project‐based learning method. The measuring tools were administered to both groups before and after the applications. To perfectly analyze the “process” of the method, seven different learning assessment “forms” were administered to the students. The findings of the forms indicated that the students learn to construct their own learning and to evaluate changes in their own behavior through the application of the method. The application of different methods between both groups had a statistically significant effect in terms of academic achievement, ( F (1,112) = 46.78, p = .000) and of retention of knowledge ( F (1,112) = 35.24, p = .000). However, there were no statistically significant effects from being in different groups for the attitudes of students ( F (1,112) = .99, p = .321). For the students, being in the project‐based learning groups resulted in better academic achievement and retention of knowledge than being in the traditional teaching group.
This article describes work by a research group bringing a middle-school inquiry and technology science innovation to scale in a systemic urban school reform setting. We distinguish between scaling and scaling within systemic reform. We pose a framework for use by developers of instructional interventions to gauge their "fit" with existing school capabilities, policy and management structures, and organizational culture, and illustrate how the framework exemplifies our experiences. We present challenges for researchers to consider as they attempt to create usable innovations and facilitate their adoption, enactment, and maintenance by school systems. Finally, we call for new approaches to the study of these problems outlining how systemic innovation challenges traditional evaluation and experimental methods.