Problem-based Learning and Project-based Learning



Thank you for giving me very constructive opinions in the mid-semester evaluation.  You are all very good at giving me suggestions to make this class a better one.  We still have two months that we can make some changes.  🙂   To me, another interesting thing is to see how people have different opinions on the same thing.  Here are some conclusion from all of you.

  • Love/ Hate:
    • Reflection (frequency/ load/ content/ due date/freedom)
    • Guest speakers (topics/ numbers)
    • Stop Animation (interesting idea/time/ familiarity with the software)
  • Love:
    • Course blog content
    • Could/Should/Must
    • FOOD!


I believe most of us won’t like to learn something that is not applicable in our daily life, right?  I remember I always asked myself the same question when I was learning advanced mathematics in high school.  For example, calculating the probability.  Do I need to know what the probability of taking a green ball out of the bag while there are 2 green balls mixed with 3 red balls and 2 yellow balls?  Therefore, we try to make everything more real and applicable.  That is the problem-based learning.  We try to solve the real-world/ authentic problems.  You see a lot of problem-based learning in architecture education, business education and medical education.

We have watched a video about how a teacher use problem-based learning in her classroom.  The main focus is that you need to have an authentic problem to work on, right?  And we mentioned that problem-based learning is common in architecture education.  So here is a problem related to architecture…


Work with people at your table.  The only rule is to use the 3 bamboo skewers and clay to create a structure that balances by only ONE point of ONE skewer on ONE of your fingertip for at least ONE minute.


A lot of time, problem-based learning is strongly connected with project-based learning.  Project-based learning does not need to tackle with a real-world problem.  At the same time, students are usually more involved or have much more control in the project.  But both of them provide a student-centered learning environment.  Teachers play the role as a facilitator.  Students need to do the research, work on solutions, and synthesize the resources in order to construct the knowledge.  

Let’s watch this video about project-based learning. 



Here is a very nice infographic about project-based learning.   Hope this infographic and the video gives you some more ideas how to design your learning adventure and design project. 


So, what are we exactly going to do for our final projects?  Here is the rubric for your reference.  Let’s take a look together. 



  • Keep the dialogue you have with your peers in blogs.  You got a lot of feedback now.  Please check what your partners have told you and respond to them.  Please finish commenting back to them by Oct. 14.


  • Work on reflection 8– Project-based learning and Design.


  • Think about an essential question– a question you are always wondering/ curious about/ interested in; a question that is important in K-12 education/ higher education.
  • Read the rubric for the final projects.  Ask questions on Friday!

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