This Project Based Learning Toolkit website is aimed at anyone undertaking a project: individual projects or group projects; tutor led projects or student led projects; short, medium and extended projects; investigation based or application based projects; for some a project will relate to a dissertation or thesis, for others a practical application or artefact.
There are many types of projects. The connecting factor is that all projects benefit from feedback and critical reflection.
Within the website there are opportunities to unpick:
- what is meant by project based learning;
- why acting on feedback and engaging in reflection is valuable;
- how new approaches can be linked to the development of digital capabilities, skills building and employability;
- and how digital and social media can enhance the learning journey throughout the duration of a project.
Reflective practice and feedback
The Project Based Learning Toolkit can be of help to those who wish to consider how to embed ongoing reflective practice using both traditional approaches and other ways using digital and social media. Many have written about the value of reflecting on our experiences as a way of developing learning further. In Project Based Learning, reflection is an integral part of the learning process.
Understanding why the journey is as important as the destination
However reflection doesn’t always come easy to many of us. Given the advances of technology and almost ubiquitous use of smart devices, it is timely that we consider alternative ways to capture what we are doing, thinking and learning. The Project Based Learning Toolkit is aimed not to replace the approaches we currently adopt, but to enhance them. It is about providing choices and for individuals to select the tools that serve them best and to encourage reflective practice as a meaningful and valued habit rather than a chore.
The old saying you can’t eat an elephant whole, can be related to a project. Break it down into bite size chunks and it becomes more manageable. The Project Based Learning Toolkit therefore looks to provide advice for seven stages within a project lifecycle. These begin with the question (problem or challenge) and end with the evaluation.
In between there is the planning stage, undertaking research, and the production of information or an object that represents the project. The improving stage is one that is likely to be re-visited, prior to the point where the project is presented in its final form.
You may have other stages you would wish to add or replace, so consider this as a starting point. Key to each each stage of the project is engaging with feedback and in reflective practice.
How to use the Project Based Learning Toolkit
A collection of tools are suggested that will provide a starting place for you to create your own learning toolkit. These are organised to provide examples for each of the seven stages of Project Based Learning. Some of the tools are interchangeable. Explore the tools and see how they can help you to organise your project, engage in ongoing feedback and capture the learning experiences as reflective practice.
Look for downloadable resources where you see this download button. These all have a Creative Commons licence and may be re-used by anyone with attribution. The resources include activities and templates.
As lifelong and lifewide learners, we can all learn by engaging in challenging experiences, taking up opportunities to practice, utilising new social spaces for creative conversations, and making time for reflection. Continuous professional development is ongoing.
Jennings, C. (2016) The Power of Reflection in an Ever-Changing World.
The Project Based Learning Toolkit by Sue Beckingham is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.