High Quality Professional Learning for Project-Based Learning

Overview

Richards, S., Zuckerbrod, N., De Vivo, K., Felsen, K., Paulger, C., & Udall, D. (2021). High Quality Professional Learning for Project-Based Learning. Lucas Education Research.

This paper provides an overview of the research landscape for the kind of professional learning needed for project-based learning to succeed. The evidence is clear that such professional learning must ensure teachers are active, self-directed learners who receive support that is meaningful and relevant to their experiences and context.

The authors provide a close examination of the specific professional-learning opportunities available to teachers through the Knowledge in Action program. The KIA program, an effective PBL approach to AP courses, provides sustained support to teachers over the course of a year. That support includes intensive coaching, the chance to reflect on one’s practices, and opportunities for teachers to try inquiry-based experiences that are similar to those students experience in a PBL classroom. That particular approach helps teachers make sense of instructional practices that tend to be fairly different from those that are more commonly used in schools.

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Research

Including teachers in the social justice equation of project-based learning: A response to Lee & Grapin

Adah Miller, E., Makori, H., Akgun, S., Miller, C., Li, T., & Codere, S. (2022). Including teachers in the social justice equation of project-based learning: A response to Lee & Grapin. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 1– 7.

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Research

The Impact of Project-Based Learning on AP Exam Performance

Harnessing a cluster randomized controlled trial, we estimated the impact on students’ advanced placement (AP) examination performance of a project-based learning (PBL) approach to AP compared with a lecture-based AP approach.

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Research

Fostering meaningful conversations about equity grounded in teacher practice

Miller, E.A., Reigh, E.V., & Simani, M.C. (2022). STEM Teaching Tools Practice Brief 88: Equity Implementation. Meaningful conversations about equity in science education can be hard to start and even more difficult to sustain. Many teachers lack opportunities to deeply and openly discuss equitable instruction. Researchers or administrators often share equitable instructional practices with teachers […]

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Research Award

Equity-Centered Learning Environments (ECLEs) 

LER funded four research teams who are engaged in ongoing research addressing equity and student-centered learning in educational contexts across the country.

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Research Award

Democratic Knowledge Project

The Democratic Knowledge Project is a project-based learning civics initiative that includes a year-long 8th-grade civics curriculum, Civic Engagement in Our Democracy.

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Research

Mapping Enabling Conditions for High-Quality PBL: A Collaboratory Approach

This paper explores enabling conditions for scaling high-quality project-based learning (PBL) to understand factors that influence how PBL spreads, whether and how it can be sustained and the extent to which it informs meaningful change in schools.

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Research

Designing Project-Based Learning Curricula

This paper provides instructional designers with guidance on how to design high-quality PBL curricula, drawing on the LER research base, the learning science literature, and best practices from the field. To provide developers with guideposts that can inform design decisions, the paper describes a set of design principles that can support the creation of content-rich, student-centered experiences.

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Research

Interdisciplinary Education: Literature Review and Landscape Analysis  

Related to project-based learning, interdisciplinary education can create more relevant learning experiences for all students. This report, produced by RTI International for Lucas Education Research, explores the field of interdisciplinary education through an extensive literature review and landscape analysis. In both parts of the report, RTI examines the definitions of interdisciplinary education; how, where, and why the approach is practiced; and finally the existing research, resources, and structures for interdisciplinary education.

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Research

Motivating Teaching, Sustaining Change in Practice

Miller, E.C., Severance, S., and Krajcik, J. (2021). Motivating Teaching, Sustaining Change in Practice: Design Principles for Teacher Learning in Project-Based Learning Contexts, Journal of Science Teacher Education, 32:7, 757-779 In A Framework for K-12 Science Education, researchers call for teachers to make dramatic shifts in practice – and sustain in these changes in practice […]

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Research Award

Enabling Conditions Collaboratory

The Enabling Conditions Collaboratory brought together four research teams to work towards understanding the conditions that support high-quality PBL.

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