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What are the Nuts & Bolts of Project Based Learning?

January 3, 2017

Authored by:

Project Based Learning is a methodology of teaching and learning in which students respond to real-world challenges, problems, controversies, scenarios and simulations through a process of focused, student-influenced inquiry with the goals of:

•genuine student engagement

•mastery of academic learning outcomes

•development of 21st century competencies

•production of tangible outcomes


It's not what we teach, but rather how we teach.


The end in mind is engagement, learning and evidence of learning. "Learning" refers both to (1) academic learning outcomes as well as (2) 21st Century Competencies.



The means to the end are the following characteristics embedded in the design of the project and process of facilitating the project. 


Defining the characteristics of high quality Project Based Learning helps frame our thinking about PBL as a method, instead of as an outcome. It also


Use of the following criteria for each of the Nuts and Bolts in your planning process promotes the design of high quality project-based experiences for learners. 



Start designing your own projects with our free Project Planning Resources or find inspiration from educator created sample projects


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









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