Educating through purpose is the foundation of several methods that use projects to organize instruction. Although these methods are quite similar, there are some important conceptual differences that are currently at risk of being overlooked due to similarities in terminology. The project method, project based learning, and the project approach, are all valid approaches to instructional delivery. It is unfortunate that the confusion created by the terminology appears to be creating isolated discussions. The purpose of this article is to identify some of the similarities and differences among these methods in the hope of encouraging new developments in project-related instruction.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Systemic: Affecting all parts of a system.
Learning Project: Projects that are begun by adults in the pursuit of self improvement.
Project Based Learning: Instruction based on broadly defined projects that include simulated experiences and scenarios in addition to or in place of laboratory and field experiences.
Authentic Assessment: A type of evaluation that closely mirrors the standards and conditions that will be encountered when competencies are applied outside of the formal educational system
Project Approach: Instruction that is structured around activities that channels student interest through field experiences and inquiries into the subject. The resulting artifacts are collected into a summary product. The project is supplemental to the traditional curriculum.
Formative Assessment: Evaluative measures collected during an instructional program that allow for changes to be made in that program prior to the end of instructional program.
Project Method: Instruction centered on a project that reinforces previously developed subject area competencies and results in a tangible object. The project may be embedded into the curriculum or assigned as a summary experience.