IN the current era where things are dictated by technological advancements, the way of learning has changed to acquiring skills to face the challenges of the 21st century and beyond. It is quite essential to update the curriculum of our education system right across the academic stream. It is the responsibility of all the relevant stakeholders to incorporate such changes in the national curriculum.

Project-based learning is one of the emerging themes of outcome-based education (OBE) being enforced by the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) for the last few years. The real essence of the OBE theme should be attained through mutual efforts of all stakeholders.

Project-based learning is a teaching method in which students learn by actively engaging in real-world and meaningful projects. It is based on an instructional approach designed to give students the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills by working on projects set around challenges and problems they may face in the world beyond the universities.

Students learn knowledge and elements of the core curriculum, and then apply what they know to solve authentic problems and produce results that matter. The core idea of project-based learning is that real-life problems capture students’ interest and invoke serious thinking as the students acquire and apply new knowledge in a problem-solving context.

The teacher plays the role of a facilitator, working with students to frame worthwhile questions, structuring meaningful tasks, coaching both knowledge development and social skills, and carefully assessing what students have learned from the experience.

The teacher is involved in designing and planning. They create or adapt a project for its context and students plan its implementation from launching to culmination while having a certain degree of voice and choice.

Teachers also use standards to plan the project and make sure it addresses key knowledge and understanding on subject areas. They explicitly and implicitly promote the students to act independently, to grow, to indulge in open-ended inquiry, to show and enjoy team spirit and to pay attention to quality. Students organise tasks and schedules, set checkpoints and deadlines, find and use resources, create products and make them public under the supervision of the teachers concerned.

Teachers employ a variety of lessons, tools and instructional strategies to facilitate their students in reaching project goals. They also use formative and summative assessments of knowledge, understanding and success skills, and include self and peer assessment of team and individual work.

Teachers engage in learning and creating alongside their students, and identify when they need skill-building, redirection, encouragement and celebration.

Through the implementation of project-based learning, students learn how to work better in groups. By providing their own input, listening to others, and resolving conflicts when they arise, they build positive relationships with their teachers as well. Students also form relationships with community members when working on projects, gaining insight for careers and beyond. There is no loser in the equation.

Dr Muhammad Ilyas
Khuzdar

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2022

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