13 Tips for Students Getting Started with Project-Based Learning

On a recent visit to speak to college students at the University of Washington, I asked how many of the students were regularly engaged in project-based learning at the university level.
I was surprised that only a few students raised their hands.
As we have been exploring in our series about project-based learning, it is a project-based world.

Robin Chase, co-founder of Zipcar, said: “My father had one job in his life. I’ve had six in mine, my kids will have six at the same time.”

The reality is, my kids (and yours) and your students are heading into a new economy and a vast technological change. Robots may be taking over routine tasks, and more young people will rely on freelance work or gigs to make a living. Those that do work in large organizations will collaborate digitally, tackle complex problems and do the bulk of their work on teams and in projects.
We have received inspiration from many young people through our Gen DIY series about students who are hacking their way through college and career. We recently interviewed two high school students, Leona and Briana Das, who are doing amazing and inspiring projects at home and at school. We also interviewed students from Raisbeck Aviation High School about their project work for the Getting Smart podcast.
We created this guide for students (please print and share with students you know this year) to encourage them to take action and learn in and through projects. Included are tools and best practices for project-based learning at school or outside of it. Our goal in publishing a guide specifically for students is to encourage students to try learning through projects, with support from an adult mentor or family member or teacher (or even solo).
Teachers and parents, head over to our publication, Preparing Students for a Project-Based World. Students, this one is for you. Share this one with a friend, post on Pinterest, Facebook,  Instagram or Twitter, and share your projects with us at #ProjectBased.
This article is part of “It’s a Project-Based World” series. To learn more and contribute a guest post for the series, see the Project-Based World page. Join in the conversation at #projectbased.
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Bonnie Lathram

Bonnie Lathram is a student advocate and former teacher.

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Dikshit Aryal

Hi Bonnie, This post is really amazing and the most catchy part is the infographic you have shared here. Great one.


Bonnie Lathram

Thank you so much! Have a great day!

Scott Wilson

Bonnie, in the Port Townsend School District we have initiated Place-Based (aka Project-Based) learning district -wide, under an initiative called Maritime Discovery Schools. Check us out: http://www.ptschools.org/


Bonnie Lathram

Thanks so much Scott for the comments. We will definitely check out the Port Townsend School District work (and we are close- in Seattle!) That sounds amazing. Best, Bonnie

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