Student Doing Home Work

Building on Project-Based Learning

We can thank curiosity for propelling the cultural advancement of humankind over millennia and increasing our knowledge base with each passing generation. Unfortunately, with our established system of education today, our focus has shifted from curiosity and knowledge sharing to rote memorization, stifling the natural curiosity of our students. 

Students want to have more control over how and where they learn. They want to feel that what they are learning is relevant to the world around them. Students want to take ownership of their learning, and ownership creates engagement. We now understand an engaged and curious thinker is willing to put more effort into the task at hand. They are able to dig deeper into the knowledge and understanding surrounding it, creating a more robust learning experience, as well as personal intrinsic enjoyment. 

What is Project-based learning (PBL)?

Project-based learning is an instructional approach that allows students to work through engaging projects, addressing each projects unique problems and challenges. Students develop their knowledge and skill by critically thinking through each real world problem and responding appropriately. A simple way to describe PBL is “learning by doing.” The  PBL model cuts across boundaries, taking elements from an often unconventional combination of subject areas. Skills are learned by working through the project itself, not taught before the project has begun, making learning part of the process. 

How can project-based learning combat apathy at school?

Traditional learning models have failed to evolve alongside technology, innovation, and design, falling behind as the world moves forward. Project-based inspired learning is a creative and innovative solution to building a bridge between students and vibrant learning. Instead of passively consuming information presented by a teacher in the front of the classroom, students build their own education. They are the creators, architects, and designers of their process, and are therefore deeply invested in and motivated by the learning journey.

Engagement is necessary, according to new data from the nonprofit YouthTruth. A recent study showed only 54 percent of middle schoolers and 46 percent of high schoolers think their studies are relevant. Relevance was rated lowest on the survey of student engagement. The survey asked whether students take pride in their work, whether they enjoy going to school, whether their schoolwork is relevant, whether they try to do their best’ and whether their teachers’ expectations help them with that goal. Recent studies have shown that some of the most prevalent language used by students to describe the current school culture are “boring,” “hectic,” “stressful,” and “disconnected from the real world.”

Major Findings

The ideas behind effective PBL are clear and backed by research, so what works when implementing this kind of learning and teaching?

According to a 2016 Stevens Report the strategies most effective in supporting PBL are: 

  • Strong pedagogical leadership with a collaborative and open culture
  • Creating learning spaces with pedagogy as the central focus
  • Flexible time tables and structure 
  • The Curriculum is continuously evolving 
  • School networks support engaging projects
  • Planning as a collaborative exercise 
  • Technology used to enhance learning 

Benefits of Lark

So how do we bring creativity and curiosity back into the classroom? By using the most effective aspects of the Project-Based Learning Model and adapting it, Lark Academy asks students to be creative problem solvers and bring adventure back into the classroom. 

While Lark Academy does not strictly adhere to a PBL model, we have evolved this approach, along with other current models, to develop the most effective education for our young people. Learn more about our philosophy

Disrupt Education, Support Lark

Continuing to provide students with the highest quality education and experiences at Lark Academy depends on philanthropic contributions. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and donations are tax-deductible.