Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Project Based Learning - Are you doing it?

Are you implementing Project Based Learning in a corporate environment? If so, I would like to hear about it. In an instructional design class I took over the summer we focused on "Project Based Learning." What I learned in this class inspired me to make it more of a priority in my work as an instructional designer in a corporate environment. I love the principles behind project based learning because they focus on the learner performing the instructional objectives being taught in a realistic situation. All fired up to do more with project based learning I set out on a Google search for examples of it being used in corporate environments. To my surprise there is a severe lack of information available about implementing it specifically in the corporate world. Just about every search result has to do with project based learning in K-12 education. So, I am going to try and help do something about that.

I am going to try and make a small contribution by writing a few posts about implementing "Project Based Learning" in a corporate environment. I'll cover important topics such as developing the "Driving Question" and "Artifact" of the project while citing specific examples of it being used in a corporate environment. After writing a few posts highlighting the key points and receiving your insight I'll put it all together into an article covering the project based learning design process from start to finish.

Before diving into project based learning in more detail I would love to hear about your experiences implementing it in a corporate environment. I was hoping to find insight with a Google search but as mentioned earlier there's really not much information available. I can't be the only one with something to say about it so help contribute by posting a comment with your thoughts or experiences with project based learning. I look forward to hearing your ideas and sharing them in upcoming blog posts.

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3 comments:

Joe Fournier said...

Joe, For our training organization (trainers, instructional designers, instructional techs, and quality people) we have an annual learning conference in which there is always a culminating activity. The learners are given an opportunity to apply what they've learned through application in a project. In past years we did this by having sessions during a multi-day conference; this year, we're producing full-blown classes prior to the conference and aligning various curricula based on needs for various groups; then, we're regrouping learners so that each project team has members that have gone through different tracks.

One of the tracks my team is leading is the Instructional Design Certification track, which has it's own culminating activity of applying the IDD principles in design of a learning solution. In fact, we are developing a bunch of trainer certification programs internally independent of the conference. This gives us the opportunity to align directly with specifics related to our corporate environment, rather than having trainers come back from some external certification program with the need to make the cognitive bridge independently. The closer binding to our environment seems to reduce time to competency, as does the application of what you're referring to as "project-based" learning. Honestly, I didn't know we were doing that. It just seemed like a logical extension of learning to achieve performance results.

Throughout my career (with my current employers and elsewhere), I've been aware that the sooner the learning is applied independent of instruction, the more likely the learner is to "make it their own."

Would be happy to discuss more if you like...and talk to me after January and I can share results and insights related to the conference.

Joe Deegan said...

Hi Joe,
Thanks for the insight. I think a lot of organizations are much like you in that they are already doing project based training and don't even realize it. I am glad I brought up this topic to help bring out the best practices that we may not know are best practices yet.

That's great that you are using projects to apply what you have learned at your organizations annual conference. Are participants attending some kind of course or instruction prior to beginning the project? I am looking into designing a course where the instruction and the opportunity to apply what they learned is all part of the project. In K12 education this would be something like a web quest where the learners have to do the research and find the answers on their own in order to complete the project. I think this type of project based lesson would really take some good planning up front.

学习技术——技术学习 said...

Hi joe:

in this summer my students wants take part in a software competition.In to months they organized a team,I lead them use PHP and MYSQL design a manage system,and got better grade.I think for student the important is build a environment.
1、a website disscuss for them.
2、lots of material about this project
3、use the technoolgy in the action