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Successful PBL hinges on the educator and their ability to design and facilitate student centered learning experiences. Before educators launch into a PBL activity they will need to evaluate their mindset, lesson design, and understanding of facilitation techniques.



PBL is a different type of teaching that is new to many ed
ucators. To ensure a positive experience educators can:
  • be open to learning new skills necessary to guide students as they
 construct meaningful knowledge (Uden & Beaumont, 2006, p. 14)
  • expect a louder and more dynamic classroom environment.
  • gear thinking around effective technology integration prior to beginning a PBL activity as it will serve a key role for both the students and teacher

Lesson Design

Prior to launching a PBL activity educators will need to re-think their typical teaching framework. PBL revolves around student discovery and problem solving. Lesson design will focus on:
  • situated learning where “knowledge construction is stimulated by a question or need or desire to know” (Marra, Jonassen, Palmer, & Luft, 2014, p.226).
  • developing “problem scenarios to encourage students to engage themselves in the learning process” (Savin-Baden & Major, 2004, p. 3).
  • providing a scaffold outlining the skills and resources necessary to complete the project.

Facilitation Techniques

Student centered learning is a relatively new paradigm in education. For centuries teachers have stood at the front of the classroom as experts delivering content specific information. For student centered learning via project based learning to be effective teachers will need to transition from instructors to facilitator.
The teacher-facilitator:

  • prepares online learning management system for student-to-student and student-to-teacher collaboration, communication, and accountability.
  • oversees group progress, monitors team dynamics, and inquires about the students’ knowledge construction.provides guidance on how to use technology safely and effectively (Bell, 2010, p. 42).
  • does not provide direct answers to student questions.

Example PBL Lessons

High Tech High School
Project Foundry: PBL Lesson Plans

PBL Resources for Educators

PBL for Beginners
Tools for PBL
Educators Role in PBL

Related Pages:

Project-based Learning
PBL and the Self-directed Learner
PBL and Technology Integration


Bell, S. (2010). Project-based learning for the 21st century: Skills for the future. Clearing
House, 83(2). 39-43. Retrieved from =ed69e071-e28d-422d-8817-330cb4a7c383%40sessionmgr114&hid=122

Boss, S., & Krauss, J. (2007). Reinventing project-based learning: Your field guide to
real-world projects in the digital age. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education. Retrieved from zQ3NTk0OV9fQU41?sid=c185949f-5610-415e-9314- 968b6e61fd31@sessionmgr110&vid=7&format=EB&rid=13

Marra, R. M., Jonassen, D. H., Palmer, B., & Luft, S. (2014). Why problem-based learning works: Theoretical foundations. Journal On Excellence In College Teaching, 25(3/4), 221-238. Retrieved from d=ed69e071-e28d-422d-8817-330cb4a7c383%40sessionmgr114&hid=122

Savin-Baden, M., & Major, C. H., & Society for Research into Higher, E. (2004). Foundations of Problem-based Learning. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education

Uden, L., & Beaumont, C. (2006). Technology and problem-based learning. Hershey, PA: Information Science Pub.