Project-based learning also abbreviated as PBL is a learning style whereby the teacher makes the classroom more real-life for learners. In this type of learning method, students will be engaged in a project that allows them to solve real-life problems. The students also engage in projects aimed at providing answers to difficult questions.
Students with the help of already acquired skills and knowledge come up with an exceptional product presented to a real audience as a solution or an answer to a problem or question. PBL not only engages students in physical or actual life practices but also fosters creativity, communication skills and critical thinking in students.
At the end of the course, a student exhibits great creative energies recognizable among peers and educators. This type of learning not only makes students better innovators but also it gives its learners an advantage over others; however, there are cons of project-based learning that need to be improved. The cons are as discussed below:
- Failing in Normal Theoretical Tests
For project-based learning, theoretical concepts are always a challenge to many students. Students spending a lot of their time on these projects end up losing a taste for the content their learning covers. Students might forget the existence of course learning guides and spend their times in labs. Since project-based learning involves collaborations between learners, most of its tests have transitioned from fact-based testing to multiple-choice questions. Most students lack the depth to use theoretical concepts to answer theoretical questions exhaustively. Project-based learning has many advantages, but one can easily fail its fact-based exams doing practical projects rather than engaging with important course information.
- Students May Lack Preparedness
It is evident that project-based learning is more practical and complex. A parent knowing the advantages of engaging a kid in project-based learning might feel they are helping the student, but not so much. The reasons could be:
- A lack of maturity: The student may not be mature enough to work in a group and will spend most of their project time distracted by other issues, could be games and toys.
- A lack of interest: There are many kinds of students. As they grow up in life and education, they pick up new interests a parent might ignore. A parent might have a smart kid and believe this style of learning will help the kid only for the kid to lack interest. Grasping of concepts of the problem and a parent might end up wasting their tuition fees.
- A lack of knowledge: There are students knowledgeable enough to tackle any problem thrown at them; some lack prerequisite knowledge that can support their learning process. To help this student, the educator needs to notice these students and provide them with resources to help tackle gaps in knowledge.
- A Teacher May Lack Preparedness
Teaching may appear easy to a teacher who has gone for training. The problem arises when the teacher to use project-based learning to educate students is not prepared. The teacher will need to change certain teaching habits to make the best of their teaching experiences. Some practices, for example, openly correcting mistakes, can end up not helping the student get better. The students themselves should be able to notice when they have made a mistake as they handle the project. The teacher should focus on some things, as follows:
- Providing research resources to support developing concepts
- Test student logic in a way that helps them get better creatively
- Intentionally asking questions aimed at directing attention at a part of the problem
Becoming an excellent project-based educator will take some time for one to be able to change their mindset on this style of learning and teaching.
- The Assessment Might Take Forever
To ensure that students improve their knowledge and skills during PBL, it requires a lot of monitoring and routine monitoring. The teacher needs to be sure the assessment is correct; this job can be cumbersome unlike a theoretical class whereby facts are tested and responses and fixed making evaluation easy. To assess project-based learning, the assessor takes into account some factors as follows:
- Number of tasks completed
- Quality of tasks
- Overall group work and solutions
- Team communication
- Big Gap Between Content Relevance and Their Applicability
Whatever students learn in class is not directly related to the problem meant to be solved. For a student to be able to tackle the project problem in question, they have to shift focus to aspects of the problem from content issues. A student might end up missing important information stated out in salient classroom issues. Moreover, if you had a specific goal to achieve by assigning certain problems for students to solve, your plan may not work. Impediments faced in solving the problem could shift focus away from the purpose of the lesson and goal you wish to achieve.
In conclusion, project-based learning is full of advantages one cannot dispute, but it is not the perfect recipe for a learned student. There is a lot that needs to be done to convert the cons of project-based learning to pros. That way one can conclude that the student has gotten better than they were on their first day in a project-based lesson. In the end, the student needs to show a mastery of both practical and theoretical concepts correctly.