Project Based Language Learning (PBLL)

What have you heard about Project based Language Learning(PBLL)? What experience do you have with Project Based Learning(PBL)? What is the definition of PBL?

After getting frustrated with “traditional” textbooks, language courses, and approaches to learning and teaching languages, I began to search for better learning and teaching approaches and methods. Not just skills and strategies, very important parts of language learning, but I was searching for a way of learning that allowed me to choose what I wanted to learn, how I wanted to learn, how I wanted to show what I learned, accounted for my knowledge, skills, and abilities, considered the interconnections of learning, and left me with a sense of accomplishment. A sense of accomplishment because I did something with what I wanted to learn(Voice and Choice, Meaningful Tasks). I wanted a method that considered the process of learning. I’ve since come across PBLL: PBL applied in foreign language learning. Now, there is always a time and place for different learning and teaching methods for several reasons. This post is not about those many reasons. This post is to consider PBLL and its effectiveness in the process of learning.

I started my PBLL discovery with the University of Hawaii’s online PBLL course. It’s a good course with a lot of great information. Yet, not enough examples of PBLL in action from beginning to end. I disagree with the welcome video statement about “Real PBLL.” I think later in the course the professor backs up my concern about their welcome video but I never received an answer in the class forum. Probably due to the fact that I started the course late, the self paced option, and most participants had already finished the main course. One of the themes during the course appears to be the definition of PBLL. I think I’ve finally found a great definition at http://www.edutopia.org: PBLL Definition.

Heather Wolpert-Gawron explains:

“PBL is the ongoing act of learning about different subjects simultaneously. This is achieved by guiding students to identify, through research, a real-world problem (local to global) developing its solution using evidence to support the claim, and presenting the solution through a multimedia approach based in a set of 21st-century tools.

Kids show what they learn as they journey through the unit, interact with its lessons, collaborate with each other, and assess themselves and each other. They don’t just take a test or produce a product at the end to show their learning.”

What do you think? How good is PBLL? What does PBLL lack?

For more information on PBl and PBLL, I recommend the Univeristy of Hawaii’s course, edutopia.org, and the Buck Institute for Education

Once again, thank you for your time and I look forward to discussing PBLL with you.


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