Project-Based Learning

Project-Based Learning Gets Project Manager Make-Over

The concept of "project-based learning" is finally getting a foundation built on formal project management principles. The Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21), a non-profit focused on developing resources to help schools instill 21st century learning and instructional practices into their operations, is working with the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation to make project management materials available to educators. The foundation is affiliated with a global member organization that certifies project managers.

The foundation gave a $475,000 grant to P21 to fund the development of an online toolkit, titled, "Bringing Project Management into the School Transformation Conversation." The idea is to bring project managers into the work of education transformation in their local communities and to help teachers and administrators better understand and implement project-based learning, project management and related skills in the classroom. The materials include advice for engaging the community as "stakeholders" in the work, references to projects that can be used in learning scenarios and links to successful programs in schools and districts.

The same skills young people need to succeed in college and work are the ones used in successful projects, said Michael DePrisco, who heads up academic and educational programs for the Project Management Institute. "Project management helps them learn how to think creatively, communicate effectively and work collaboratively with their peers. We understand the value that project-based learning adds to the classroom, but equipping teachers and students with project management skills better ensures that they know how to expertly manage those projects."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.