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Project-Based Learning (PjBL)

What is it?

Project-based learning (PjBL) involves students working on a project. Depending on the goals of the instructor, the size and scope of the project can vary greatly. Students may complete their project over the course of many weeks, or within a single class period.


The project should engage them in solving a real-world problem or answering a complex question. Typically, PjBL takes students through the following phases or steps:

1) Identifying a problem  2) Proposing a potential solution 3) Designing and developing a prototype 4) Refining the solution based on feedback from experts, instructors, and/or peers. 


Advantages of this approach include:

  • Develops critical thinking and creative thinking


Some challenges of this approach include:

  • Students may get off-task, so having a faculty member who can serve as a facilitator or mentor is beneficial
  • It may not be familiar, so students may be hesitant about it


Examples and Implementation

Example 1: As a group, students pick a public health topic they will engage with. They research the problem and identify one element they would like to focus on. As a team, they develop a public health social media campaign to address the problem. 


Example 2: As a group, students generate a research question and a hypothesis. Over the course of the year they design an experiment to test the hypothesis, conduct and analyze data, and then present their research findings.


Remember that PjBL is more than a final project. The majority of the learning process is occurring as students research their topic, develop solutions, and present their results.  


Use the Google Plug-in below to find articles about educators who have implemented PjBL in your discipline.

Google Scholar Search