Workshop 2: Designing Integrative Project-Based Learning Experiences
Project-based learning is a high-impact strategy that promotes student engagement and learning through authentic problem-solving experiences. It is inherently interdisciplinary and integrative, and can be effective from the first year through the senior level, both in general education and in the major. In a recent study, more than 2,500 graduates of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (spanning 38 years) attributed significant long-term personal benefits and professional success to their project work as undergraduates. Alumni who had completed projects in partnership with off-campus organizations reported particularly strong gains, especially in leadership, self-efficacy, communication, and problem-solving abilities.
This workshop will lead participants through a four-step process to design powerful project-based learning experiences that integrate previous knowledge through focus on real-world problems situated in specific contexts. First, we will identify the skills and abilities we want our students to gain through integrative, project-based learning—what do we want them to be able to do? Second, we will consider evidence—how will we know if we’ve succeeded? Third, we will envision learning experiences designed to develop those skills and abilities and produce the evidence—what assignments and activities and feedback will move students in the desired directions? Finally, we will discuss barriers and levers—what institutional or resource challenges must be overcome? What types of support mechanisms and partnerships can facilitate positive changes in the curriculum?
In Summer 2015, Worcester Polytechnic Institute will offer a Summer Institute on Problem-Based Learning. More information will be available in Fall 2014.