The benefits of a project-based curriculum in the classroom
There are many different methods of teaching in the classroom which professors can use, one of which is project-based learning. Project-based learning is a method in which students make use of real-world problems and cases in order to learn and develop meaningful skills. The pandemic has caused a large drop in opportunities for students to learn meaningful skills through traditional in-person methods such as internships. However, professors can make up for this drop by innovating their traditional curriculum through the introduction of teaching methods such as project-based learning. Let’s explore project-based learning and what benefits it can give to students, especially those currently facing online learning.
The improvement of skills
We have explored the top soft skills currently in demand in a previous blog post, The Top Soft Skills Recruiters Are Looking For, Especially During COVID. Project-based learning can greatly accelerate the development of these highly desired skills and more.
Soft skills have become much more important for post-graduates as situations change and we are forced to adapt. As opposed to traditional lecture style lessons, a project-based approach will allow students to use and practice several different skills. Through the application of knowledge, students can learn about real-life scenarios and how to tackle similar situations in the future after university.
To solve the problems presented to students through real life projects, students will need to develop and practice not only hard skills, but also soft skills which are also referred to now as “21st century skills”. These are all skills that many students won’t get the chance to learn in classes without constant practice. Should a student be able to master these skills, they will be better prepared to act as leaders in their workplaces and tackle any problem thrown their way.
The support of those with different learning styles
Each and every student varies in terms of their learning styles. As mentioned earlier, project-based learning allows for a lot of application and the way students apply their knowledge is up to them. Instilling the traditional lecture-based style of teaching on students can cause some to be at a disadvantage in their learning abilities. Project-based learning can mitigate the disadvantage and give students the chance to create their own process of solving their problem and communicating what they’ve done.
While the traditional way of monitoring performance is through tests, it is not always the best way. Tests can judge the knowledge obtained by students, but tests alone won’t retain it. Students can retain related course material through continuous practice, which is given by project-based learning. Not only are students being required to recall information learned in class, but also apply it and see how it is relevant in a real work setting.
Creating or implementing projects throughout the semester can give educators the chance to assess the performance and growth of their students. Certain working methods which would normally not be tracked by educators such as the ability to work independently or with a team can now be monitored. Watching over how students work can then lead to solid feedback which will benefit their ability to work post-graduation. The feedback students receive can also help them to improve and feel more engaged in the course, as they are not only practicing course material, but also skills.
Above all, project-based learning promotes continuous learning. The problems given in certain projects are real problems that students may face in the future. There are endless problems which could arise and constant practice can help to teach students methods to use to solve these problems.
Every problem is a learning experience, even beyond the classroom. A student could learn all the knowledge from a certain course or subject, but what matters is how this knowledge is applied. Project-based learning allows for students and professors to reach beyond the classroom and take control of what they are learning, which progresses them towards becoming a lifelong learner.
Implementing project-based learning
While we are in an online classroom setting, project-based learning has become more important than ever. Students are losing out on several opportunities to learn from different projects and work outside of the classroom. With the already shifted classroom setting, this may be a good time to also give students the chance to try out different methods of learning.
An easy way to implement projects into the curriculum can be through Riipen. Riipen is a worldwide marketplace that connects companies with educators and students to complete project-based learning experiences. Signing up with Riipen as a professor will give you the chance to implement projects into your class that come from real world problems. If you are interested in learning more and how Riipen can help improve your class, visit our website or contact our team at email@example.com to get started.
About the author
Austin Gumbs is a Marketing Intern at Riipen and is currently a third-year University of Toronto student studying Business. He enjoys getting involved with his University community through his work on different clubs. When he isn’t working on extracurriculars, you can find him at his desk watching various Netflix shows and YouTube videos, playing games, or working on a new hobby of his: glass painting.