Learn about Project-Based Learning (PBL) and get tips for engaging students using PBL.

What is Project-Based Learning?

Project-based learning is a teaching method which encourages students to engage with open-ended and real-world problems. The project is usually relatively long-term, spanning a few weeks or a term rather than an individual teaching session.

In this teaching approach module leaders provide a project brief to students which usually forms the main part of the module’s summative assessment. Students work on their project in assigned groups and create some kind or formal output, for example a report, plan or video, and opportunities for formative assessment embedded throughout the term. The resulting submission could be a group or individual submission, or a combination of both.

Project-based learning helps to equip students with key transferrable skills such as written and verbal communication, critical thinking and teamworking. It also provides an opportunity to embed authentic assessment within your curriculum by partnering with local organisations, companies or charities. This allows students to respond to real-world briefs and engage with the local community.

Top tips

Make sure you:

  • provide a clear, detailed brief to students and make links to learning outcomes and marking criteria
  • set out clear expectations to students and highlight the benefits this approach has for them
  • try to partner with a local organisation, company or charity to allow students to respond to a real-world brief
  • take care when allocating the student groups, aim to make sure each group is varied in experience and background.


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