Exploring Issues and Challenges of Project-Based Learning for Teaching and Learning

Exploring Issues and Challenges of Project-Based Learning for Teaching and Learning

Chien Yu (Mississippi State University, USA), Sang Joon Lee (Mississippi State University, USA), Wei-Chieh Wayne Yu (Mississippi State University, USA) and Angela Lenoir Walton (Mississippi State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3873-8.ch006
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Abstract

Project-based learning is an innovative approach to teaching and learning. Given the current state of research on project-based learning, many benefits and contributions have been explored in education. The purpose of this chapter is to examine current educational practices of project-based learning for teaching and learning, and to keep up-to-date on the issues and challenges pertinent to the project-based learning strategy. In addition to reviewing the benefit and effectiveness of project-based learning, the chapter also discusses some strategies and guidelines for designing and implementing this approach in teaching and learning.
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Definitions Of Project-Based Learning

Beckett (2002) defined a project as “a long term (several weeks) activity that involves a variety of individual or cooperative tasks” (p. 54). Projects involve not only gathering of information, but also “discussion of the information, problem solving, oral or written reporting, and display” and can be completed “outside the classroom in the students’ own time” (Hedge, 1993, p. 276). Project-based learning is largely group-based and relies on student input for its direction (Legutke & Thomas, 1991). Wurdinger, Harr, Hugg, and Bezon (2007) defined project-based learning as “a teaching method where teachers guide students through a problem solving process which includes identifying a problem, developing a plan, testing the plan against reality, and reflecting on the plan while in the process of designing and completing a project” (p. 151). According to Haines (1989), projects are activities in which “the students themselves play [a role] in the initial choice of subject matter and in the decisions related to appropriate working methods, the project timetable and the eventual ‘end product’” (p. 1).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Student-centered Learning: Also known as learner-centered learning; broadly encompasses methods of teaching that shift the focus of instruction from the teacher to the student.

Self-Efficacy: People's beliefs about their own capabilities to produce designated levels of performance.

Inquiry-Based Learning: By posing questions, problems or scenarios, learners will identify and research issues as well as questions in the learning process to develop their knowledge or solutions.

Self-Regulated Learning: Describes a process of taking control of and evaluating one's own learning and behavior.

Project-Based Learning, PBL: Refers to an instructional approach that teachers use multifaceted projects to guide students through a problem solving process as a central organizing strategy for teaching.

Scaffolding: As an instructional support, it can be characterized as indirect guidance then fading. Scaffolding does not explicitly direct students; rather, it provides the guidance toward the completion of a learning task.

Problem-Based Learning: Refers to an instructional approach using appropriate problems to increase students’ knowledge and understanding about a subject that allows for the development of other desirable skills and attributes.

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