Problem Base Learning

Characteristics of Authentic Learning Activities from
  1. Real-world relevance: Activities match as nearly as possible the real-world tasks of professionals in practice rather than decontextualized or classroom-based tasks.
  2. Ill-defined: Activities require students to define the tasks and subtasks needed to complete the activity.
  3. Complex, sustained tasks: Activities are completed in days, weeks, and months rather than minutes or hours. They require significant investment of time and intellectual resources.
  4. Multiple perspectives: Provides the opportunity for students to examine the task from different perspectives using a variety of resources, and separate relevant from irrelevant information.
  5. Collaborative: Collaboration is integral and required for task completion.
  6. Value laden: Provide the opportunity to reflect and involve students’ beliefs and values.
  7. Interdisciplinary: Activities encourage interdisciplinary perspectives and enable learners to play diverse roles and build expertise that is applicable beyond a single well-defined field or domain.
  8. Authentically assessed: Assessment is seamlessly integrated with learning in a manner that reflects how quality is judged in the real world.
  9. Authentic products: Authentic activities create polished products valuable in their own right rather than as preparation for something else.
  10. Multiple possible outcomes: Activities allow a range and diversity of outcomes open to multiple solutions of an original nature, rather than a single correct response obtained by the application of predefined rules and procedures.
(Adapted from Reeves, T. C., Herrington, J., & Oliver, R. (2002). Authentic activity as a model for web-based learning. 2002 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA, USA.)


Here is the example of "working conditions" mentioned by PBL sources. Download the pdf and find the facilitation tip on page 12. The link is pasted here, but I did notice that the web site seems to be selling its publications; it may be selling this great booklet in the future.

Links: Welcome to PBL-Online, a one stop solution for Project Based Learning! You'll find all the resources you need to design and manage high quality projects for middle and high school students. PBL-Online will guide you through the development of engaging, standards-focused projects. Project planning is organized according to five design principles displayed below. Scroll over the image below for an introduction to each principle, or click to learn in depth about each principle. In addition, each design principle is supported by a set of resources and advice from expert PBL teachers.

Edutopia: Edutopia is a magazine, web site and online community that connects teachers, student and administrators to innovative ways of learning. A large portion of their material is devoted to Project Base Learning. Here are a variety of projects to explore:expeditionary learning + school-to-career + integrated curriculum + place-based learning + student portfolios + project planning + mentors +cooperative learning + service learning + assessing projects + brain research. Wiki Woman: How a Web Tool Saved My Career: A Pennsylvania teacher revitalizes her classroom with a wiki. works to help you integrate technology into your classroom by offering online tools and resources. This site helps teachers locate online resources such as ready-to-use Web lessons, quizzes, rubrics and classroom calendars. "A project based learning method is a comprehensive approach to instruction. Your students participate in projects and practice an interdisciplinary array of skills from math, language arts, fine arts, geography, science, and technology."

NAIS: Challenge 20/20 is an Internet-based program that pairs classes at any grade level (K-12) from schools in the U.S. with their counterpart classes in schools in other countries; together the teams (of two or three schools) tackle real global problems to find solutions that can be implemented at the local level and in their own communities.