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Project Based Learning – PBL (EXTEND-01)

Course Description

Participants will gain expertise in design and implementation of problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum units at the elementary, middle, or high school levels that employ an authentic problem as the impetus for student learning.  They will learn about the promotion of engaged learning through immersion of students in “ill-structured,” open-ended problems or controversial issues. The course will focus on brain-compatible learning that engages participants in self-evaluation of their instructional practices.



This course will be taught using a combination of instructional strategies including lecture, small group work, and whole class interaction.  Much of the time spent will be in the library, accessing information and resources.


Course Length

This facilitated course is divided into 5 Modules: an Orientation and five content-based Modules. Each content Module includes individual work to learn concepts of project-based learning in interactive tutorials and exercises, a facilitated online discussion, and individual work developing a final action plan project. The time for completing each Module is estimated to be between 4-6 hours, and the total amount of time required for the entire course is estimated to be 24 hours.


Course Objectives

Students will have the opportunity to:

  1. Transfer understanding of constructivist theory and principles to instructional practice Environment
  2. Recognize the power of Project-based learning (PBL) as an approach to teaching and learning
  3. Acquire the instructional technique, dialogue, guided practice strategies, and mentoring involved in implementing PBL curriculum 
  4. Learn how an ill-structured problem in any academic field is developed with relevance to culturally diverse world problems 
  5. Develop appropriate assessment techniques and tools for a specific problem
  6. Investigate research demands
  7. Analyze the critical thinking and problem-solving capabilities of students engaged in project based learning.
  8. Develop implementation strategies for classroom 
  9. Participate in project-based activities designed by class teams
  10. Reflect on how project based learning can enhance current classroom activities and curricular


Course Goals:

  • Understand the differences between a project-based approach and conventional teaching.
  • Enhance student teamwork
  • Improve creativity
  • Strengthen students capability in problem determination   
  • Review the research-based benefits of project-based learning.
  • Explore what successful projects have in common.
  • Review the four major steps of project design and create project ideas from standards and community needs.
  • Identify life readiness skills and targeted learning objectives that support student learning.
  • Understand the role of ongoing assessment in projects.
  • Identify the components of successful student-centered activities for projects.
  • Learn about different purposes, methods, and instruments for assessment during projects.
  • Assess life readiness skills using observation checklists and rubrics.
  • Organize milestones and key activities using a project timeline.
  • Review management strategies.
  • Plan the details of a project using an implementation plan.
  • Learn ways to use questioning to advance student learning.
  • Learn how to enhance students’ collaboration and self-direction skills.
  • Select information literacy skills to emphasize during a project.


Course Requirements

Successful completion of the course will be based on the following requirements:

  • Participants must complete the course activities and reading materials in each Module;
  • Participants must complete the course final action plan project and submit a final paper.


Final Action Plan Project

As a final project, participants will complete an action plan for using project-based approaches in their own classrooms. Participants are expected to work independently on the final action plan project throughout the course. Each participant is expected to submit a summary of their Project-Based Approaches plan at the end of Module 5 on the discussion board


Reading materials:


Evaluation Standards

Alphabetic equivalent 



 Active and pertinent participation in class discussion and group tasks.

  • Understand the knowledge base/research findings as reflected in class discussions, classroom applications, and projects.
  • Written assignments provide evidence of scholarly work.
  • Self-assessment of participation and learning outcomes for assigned activities
  • Written or verbal presentation of assignments is of high quality.
  • Student actively participates in all class discussions and group tasks
  • All completed course work show evidence of application of content.


  • Understand the knowledge base/research findings as reflected in class discussions, classroom applications, and projects.
  • Written or verbal presentation of assignments is of high quality.
  • Student actively participates in all class discussions and group tasks
  • All completed course work show evidence of application of content.


  • All assignments provide evidence that an effort has been made to integrate theory and skills into
    • teaching and classroom experience.
    • Student actively participates in all class discussions and group tasks
    • All completed course work show evidence of application of content.


  • Course work completed reflects minimal level of acceptability
  • Assignments are delayed and/or meet minimal requirements.
  • Student participates minimally in class discussions and group tasks.
  • Perfect attendance requirement is not met.
  • Student demonstrates a good level of energy and involvement in


The course is based on 6 modules, and mainly focuses on enhancing student capacity in project based approach.






Projects Overview

In this module, participants explore the principles of project-based learning. They learn about the differences between a project-based approach and conventional teaching, and review the research-based benefits of project-based learning. As they view examples of different projects and hear from teachers doing projects, they come to understand the characteristics that projects have in common

2 hours


Project Design

In this module, participants begin thinking about designing their own projects. They are introduced to the four major steps of project design and apply these steps to consider their own learning goals.





Assessment is integral to a project-based approach. In this module, participants learn how to integrate assessment throughout a project. They see examples of assessment instruments and develop or adapt them for their own use. They learn how to assess life readiness skills—such as collaboration, self-direction, and reflection—using teacher, peer, and self-assessment methods. They also identify the challenges and possible solutions for assigning grades during projects.




Project Planning

Planning the day-to-day work of a project is just as important as planning the big picture. In this module, participants learn how to plan project details to keep a project organized, using project timelines and implementation plans. They consider management strategies to support their students’ self-direction and success and ensure their projects run smoothly. Teachers also discuss ways to keep students on task during projects and strategies for project time management.




Guided Learning

In this module, participants focus on improving instruction throughout projects. They explore questioning strategies to improve student learning and ways to develop students’ collaboration, self-direction, information literacy, and reflection skills. Sample lessons are demonstrated as models for participants as they create mini-lessons for their own projects. Participants also observe student dialogues as students develop life readiness skills through discussions and practice





Tentative course agenda

A. Review of Literature

  1. Student learning in a PBL classroom
  2. Problem selection
  3. Medical school model 

B. Sources of Problems

  1. Using content as “post holes”
  2. Student-selected situations
  3. Current events issues
  4. Historical sources

C. Development of Problems and project design

  1. Complexity
  2. Realism

D. Teacher Role

  1.  Facilitator issues
  2. Metacognition coach
  3. Modeling of complex thinking
  4. Questioning techniques

E. Student Expectations

  1. Responsibility for learning
  2. Sources for solutions
    Library research
    Community sources
  3. Group cooperation

F. Assessment and Evaluation

  1. Teacher options
  2. Student self-assessment     

G. Classroom Management

  1. Time/ block scheduling
  2. Quality(depth) versus quantity (coverage) issues
  3. Performance possibilities

H. Teacher Reflection

  1. Self-evaluation of development and use of problem
  2. Statement of future goals
  3. Instructor input



All students entering the course are assumed to have the ability to earn passing grade. The following four assignments will show outstanding effort to integrate theory and skills into teaching and classroom experience:


A. ASSIGNMENT #1 -   DUE DATE: _________________________

  • Research on constructivism and the project concept - Conduct literature review regarding the topic of the project.
  • Share individual selections within small groups.

B. ASSIGNMENT #2 -   DUE DATE: __________________________

  • Keep a “Thinking Log” that demonstrates a high level of integration of the processes and ideas examined in the course.           

C. ASSIGNMENT #3  -  DUE DATE: __________________________

  • Address human diversity in curricular and instructional choices.
  • Compose a parent letter or survey, describing the PBL unit that you plan on using with your students. (Include this in your packet)             

D. ASSIGNMENT #4 -   DUE DATE: __________________________

  • Develop a PBL lesson for an approximate two (2) week unit. Structure the problem to meet the needs of your curriculum (connect with state learning standards), anticipate/develop necessary classroom management skills, adequate resources, and appropriate assessment techniques for a problem in an individual classroom. 
  • Prepare the PBL unit to be shared with the class

A project example for the faculty of Engineering and Technological at TUT for Master students.


PROJECT (max. 4 students)

Your main task:

As marketing consultant, you are asked to present a market opportunity of a ‘New product’ to the owner of a company following the outline presented below and the instructions given in class.


Steps to follow:


  1. Choose a product that is currently offered for sale in the Tajik market by a company regardless the origin of the product).
  • Briefly describe the product and the company you plan to analyze (product that is currently marketed in Tajikistan) by emphasizing the main characteristics (product category, package, price range, logo, channels of distribution etc.)


  1. Collect data to learn and understand the key aspects of consumer behavior with regard to the chosen product and to predict future buying behavior.
  • Describe the current target market for the analyzed product (you can use observation as marketing research method)
  • Predict future buying behavior using a questionnaire implemented to 30 respondents
  • Analyze the current and future buying behavior using statistical methods


  1. Draft a marketing plan for the ‘New product’ based on the learning and understanding of consumers’ behavior. ‘New product’ is defined here as a product not currently marketed in Tajikistan that you are developing and that you believe it would be of interest for the company and customers
  • Describe all steps of the marketing plan justifying your actions based on the findings from the consumer behavior research


  1. Create an advertising for the ‘New product’
  • Be creative! You can use any advertising technique you want just make sure you will be able to present it


Note: The project should be presented as a written report of maximum 15 pages A4, font size 12, single spacing) and electronic version. The advertising can be also in electronic format.