About a year ago, I attended a professional development sponsored by Apple on Challenge Based Learning. The question I left with was asking what is the difference between Challenge, Project, and Problem Based Learning. I did a fair amount of research to conclude very little.
In my understanding….
Problem Based Learning – is a specific inquiry with very narrow parameters of expected learning based on a problem provided by the teacher. By narrowing the problem, students can’t help but learn the intended concepts; however, there is lots of room for additional learning.
Project Based Learning – is a broader inquiry with many intended concepts available to be learned through the creation of a class or group project. Guidelines are provided to give the project a measured scope; however, the learning that occurs adjusts, adapts and flows with the students.
Challenge Based Learning – is very similar to Project Based Learning; however, the challenges are bigger than one might expect students to tackle. Students are empowered to learn and act as adults to solve or contribute to a huge problem. Most of the Challenges that I have read include direct action in the community / world beyond the school community.
Based on my understandings, I decided to mash the learning models into one for my classroom. There will be times that I set the stage for specific learning; there will be times for an opportunities for Big Ideas to be uncovered, and others where the skills and learning will be planned but the discovering, learning, use of these will be directly related to the needs as directed by the autonomous challenge owned by the class.
My very first steps were to brainstorm ideas for units that could hold a month or more of learning for Grade 6/7 students. Attached are my first and second draft of what it might look like at the 40 000 foot level.