Is Project Based Learning a More Effective Way of Teaching Than Traditional Teaching?


Sara Deitering
Mentor: Dr. Sara Waring-Tiedeman
Graduate School & Adult Learning

It can be difficult to find effective teaching techniques that keep students engaged and promote higher order thinking skills continuously throughout a teacher's content instruction. The purpose of this research was to discover if project based learning is a more effective instructional framework versus our traditional, lecture-based framework of instruction. Participants included two sections of fourth grade classrooms. The controlled group consisted of 20 students and the experienced groups consisted of 19 students. The controlled group demonstrated a significant amount of student's engagement throughout the entire unit. In contrast, the experienced group was not as high in their level of engagement as the controlled group, but did have three days of 100% engagement when the teacher provided students with hands-on activities. These findings suggest that whether you are teaching with a project based learning framework or traditional lecture-based teaching, if you have students who have a high interest in the topic and are allowed to design, create, or use their hands, they will be more engaged in their learning.