Project-based learning is a rising method by which elearning courses can benefit from. If you want your course to make your learners feel empowered, encouraged to interact during the learning process, and able to immerse in every activity, you should consider using this method.
What project-based learning focuses on is problem solving and investigation. You do not introduce the problem and then discuss the solution. The key is to let the learners experience the road towards the solution. There are certain characteristics that you need to include in your course in order to make it project-based.
- It should have a problem. This problem can be presented in the form of a question or a challenge. This is where your project-based elearning activity will begin. You need to give your learners something to work on. Make sure this is difficult enough that it will force learners to think.
- It should be relevant. To make your project-based learning really beneficial, you need to make it relevant to their personal or professional lives. That means coming up with a problem that they are more likely to encounter in the real world and put them in a scenario that they will feel familiar with. This will help them function according to what is expected of them in the workplace. You can look into the specific problems that is usually encountered by your learners on a regular basis.
- It should tap into the skills that they need to learn. The problem that you will present to your learners should obviously be something that will tap into the skills and knowledge that they need to develop. Focus on the elearning goals that you have so you can come up with the right problem.
- It should encourage them to pursue the solution on their own. Do not present them with a step by step procedure to solve the problem. Let them make their own path. Encourage them to implement self-management and critical thinking to solve the problem that is presented to them.
- It should give them the freedom to make the right or wrong choices. While it is important that the learners make the right choices all the time, this is rarely the case in a real world scenario. Having mentioned that, it is important that you allow them to make both right and wrong choices. When they do make a mistake, you need to allow them to learn how to recover from that error. This will help them feel in control even when they have made a mistake. Not only that, it is also possible that they will develop an ability to spot errors even before they happen.
- It should allow them to reflect on their work. At the end of the elearning activity, it is very important to provide learners with some moment to reflect on what happened during the problem solving process. This will allow them to think back and determine if they chose the right path or if they should have made different decisions. An open discussion at this point is something that will really help everyone in the course.
- It should provide tools to provide and receive feedback. Social learning is one of the important characteristics of a project-based elearning course. By providing the participants with the ability to give and receive feedback, they can all learn from each other and help the group improve. This does not only help in the learning process, it also develops a sense of teamwork within the learners.
- It should allow each learners to publicly present their experience. When you force learners to present what they went through during the problem-solving process, they become more accountable for their finding. Not only that, this is one platform for social learning to take place – through the exchange of feedback and opinions.
Image courtesy of jscreationzs for FreeDigitalPhotos.net