Zombie Based Learning Meets Project Based Learning - Part 2

Project Based Learning, Project-Based Learning, PBL

In the first post, you had access to a snapshot of a PBL idea. How does that fit into the larger project planning process? Let's take a look at the Project Planning Process.​​​​



  • Select Academic Learning Outcomes – What do you want students to know, be able to do and understand by the end of the project? Which standards, topics and concepts will be addressed by project work?

  • Contextualize the Learning – How will you anchor the content in an authentic context? Describe a problem, challenge, controversy, issue or scenario that links your content to something real world and relevant.

  • Craft Focusing Question(s) – Begin drafting an open-ended, complex question that will be posed at the beginning of the project, that will focus the inquiry process and that will be answered by students at the end of the project through their products, performances, presentations or services.

  • Determine Tangible Outcomes – What products, presentations, performances and/or services will give students the opportunity to “show what they know” at the end of the project? How could they be authentic, e.g. useful to an outside audience?

  • Envision your Adult World Connections – Best-case scenario – who will work with students during the project and serve as an audience at the end of the project. These could be community members, stakeholders, experts, community organizations, clients, etc…


Share your work with colleagues and request feedback in the form of:“I like…..because…..”“I wonder….”“I suggest….” Then, review feedback and make relevant revisions to your work. Gallery Walks, Parking Lots, or Digital Spaces can all be forums for feedback.


Complete Major Deliverables

  • Project Alignment Guide (This is what you can look at in THIS blog)

  • Project Calendar (This is what I'll share in the next blog)

  • Project In-A-Nutshell Form


Conduct a Tuning Protocol or another in-depth critique protocol. You can complete this step now, or in the near future. Ideally it is done no later than 1 week prior to intended implementation in a group of 5 or more. Following the protocol, make key revisions/refinements to your project in preparation for implementation.

What to look for in the attached ZAP Project Alignment Guide -

  • A healthy balance of individual and team products.

  • Products are each aligned to a reasonable number of content-based learning outcomes.

  • Instruction is varied and product-focused.

  • Products are not curricular add-ons, rather they are opportunites for students to use and apply content.

  • What else do YOU notice in the Project Alignment Guide

  • Aligned formative assessments

Want to dive deeper? Visit our PBL Consulting Services Page to learn more about our immersive workshop on Project Based Learning.

See additional examples of educator created Project Based Learning Units on our PBL Sample Project Resource Page.

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