Evidence that PBL Works | Edutopia

Note: The post below is from Edutopia and refers to significant research supporting the effectiveness of Project-Based Learning (PBL).

Evidence that PBL Works

By Bob Lenz


Many of us out there know that project-based learning (PBL) inspires students to understand core content knowledge more deeply and gain key skills for success in college and career. Many of us have also directly contributed to results for students on state tests, college-going, and college persistence metrics.

In addition, we know from surveys and focus groups that most of our students are engaged and excited about learning; however, until now, we did not have a rigorous experimental design study approved by the United States Department of Education.


Here’s another intriguing excerpt:


Both high school students and their teachers benefit:

  • Students outscored their peers in the control group who received the more typical textbook- and lecture-driven approach.
  • Students also scored higher on measures of problem-solving skills and their application to real-world economic challenges
  • Teachers scored higher in satisfaction with teaching material and methods than those in the control group.

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2 thoughts on “Evidence that PBL Works | Edutopia

  1. Hey,
    This is an interesting post. I agree that PBL’s can make a big difference in the way that students learn material. When they get to work together on projects, they can interact with each other and find the best solution for the problem. In my opinion, students need to learn problem solving skills at all grade levels. This is something they will use for the rest of their life. To have research that proves that this actually works is a beautiful thing. Students need to be able to “apply their knowledge to real-world economic challenges!”

  2. Caileigh,

    We need more of this type of research.

    One problem with the current emphasis on standardized test scores is that it can be hard to capture all of the valuable learning that students do that may not be measured by a narrow exam.

    The more research that comes along to support the PBL model, the easier it will be to get support from administrators, school board members and politicians for this important type of learning.

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