Project-based learning (PBL) offers students the opportunity to investigate real-world problems by applying a variety of self-directed methods to their research: goal setting, collaboration, and reflection, to name a few.

An inherent focus of PBL is the practice of developing long-term transfer goals.

In Assessing Student Learning by Design: Principles and Practices for Teachers and Student Leaders, Jay McTighe and Steve Ferrara define a transfer goal as the effective use of comprehension, knowledge, and skill - concepts students can apply when they confront new challenges both inside and outside of the classroom.

In developing an understanding of transfer, students are able to apply PBL to current and future learning.

How can educators support PBL and the overall goal of transfer?

PBL takes place over a continuum of time, requiring various forms of feedback throughout the process. Feedback cannot wait until the end of the project - regular feedback, linked to learning objectives and transfer, is essential in this effective, but often misunderstood, teaching practice.

Spaces Tip

Have students use SpacesEDU to document learning over time. In doing so, documented feedback (from peers, themselves, and the teacher) can be easily referenced throughout PBL.

Students can track their growth in real time using a variety of reflective methods, and curriculum tags can keep learning goals front and center. Process tracking can be highlighted in presentations and can be easily referenced when evaluating both the process and final product.

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