Project-based learning

The Outlandish Academy is structured around Projects not Courses, but we have had to adapt the methodology to weave in both components. We therefor advocate a combined stream of academic and project based courses, with the subject matter of both designed to complement each other and students taking part in both streams.

Project-based learning is a student-centered pedagogy that involves a dynamic classroom approach in which it is believed that students acquire a deeper knowledge through active exploration of real-world challenges and problems - wikipedia

Students learn about a subject by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a complex question, challenge, or problem. It is a style of active learning and inquiry-based learning. PBL contrasts with paper-based, rote memorization, or teacher-led instruction that simply presents established facts or portrays a smooth path to knowledge by instead posing questions, problems or scenarios.

The basis of PBL lies in the authenticity or real-life application of the research. Students working as a team are given a "driving question" to respond to or answer, then directed to create an artifact (or artifacts) to present their gained knowledge. Artifacts may include a variety of media such as writings, art, drawings, three-dimensional representations, videos, photography, or technology-based presentations.

Proponents of project-based learning cite numerous benefits to the implementation of its strategies in the classroom – including a greater depth of understanding of concepts, broader knowledge base, improved communication and interpersonal/social skills, enhanced leadership skills, increased creativity, and improved writing skills.

Another definition of project-based learning includes a type of instruction, where students work together to solve real-world problems in their schools and communities.

Successful problem-solving often requires students to draw on lessons from several disciplines and apply them in a very practical way. The promise of seeing a very real impact becomes the motivation for learning.

Educational research has advanced this idea of teaching and learning into a methodology known as "project-based learning".

Blumenfeld & Krajcik (2006) cite studies by Marx et al., 2004, Rivet & Krajcki, 2004 and William & Linn, 2003 state that "research has demonstrated that students in project-based learning classrooms get higher scores than students in traditional classroom".

In Peer Evaluation in Blended Team Project-Based Learning: What Do Students Find Important?, Hye-Jung & Cheolil (2012) describe "social loafing" as a negative aspect of collaborative learning.

Social loafing may include insufficient performances by some team members as well as a lowering of expected standards of performance by the group as a whole to maintain congeniality amongst members. These authors said that because teachers tend to grade the finished product only, the social dynamics of the assignment may escape the teacher's notice.