Problem-based learning is a student-centered pedagogy in which students learn about a subject in the context of complex, multifaceted, and realistic problems. The goals of problem-based learning are to help the students develop flexible knowledge, effective problem-solving skills, self-directed learning, effective collaboration skills, and intrinsic motivation.1
Project-based learning is an instructional method that provides students with complex tasks based on challenging questions or problems that involve the students' problem solving, decision making, investigative skills, and reflection that includes teacher facilitation, but not direction.2
The difference between the two lies largely in their application: problem-based learning focuses on the problem and the process, while project-based learning focuses on the product. Learn more about the differences between problem and project-based learning with this virtual workshop
When either is used to address a community problem or project, the result may look a lot like service-learning and classes can use the Risk Management policy. Please contact ICCE for more information.
1Hmelo-Silver, C.E. (2004). Problem-based learning: What and How Do Students Learn? Educational Psychology Review, 16(3).
2Buck Institute for Education (2003). Project Based Learning Handbook.
Faculty may choose to integrate their community engaged scholarship into a course, resulting in a form of service-learning.
Internships are formal work opportunities that integrate an academic program with career aspirations. We consider internships “community engagement”* when, through an internship course led by a faculty member, a student’s academic program and professional work experience intersect with the common good***, and students reflect on this intersection through course assignments.
*We define "community engagement " as when the university works collaboratively with community-based organizations** to address issues important to the well-being and lives of community members; the outcomes of which benefit the common good.** Through community engagement, university and community-based organizations exchange and share resources and work together to advocate for positive systemic change.
**Community-Based Organization - Public or private organizations that represent a community or members of a community, providing related services to individuals in the community. CBOs may work at local, regional, national, or global levels to meet the needs of communities as defined by location, identity, need, or interest. They include schools, social service agencies, nonprofit organizations, government organizations, and private entities that work in this capacity.
***The term "common good" refers to the material, cultural or institutional interests and goals that members of society have in common that embody sustained mutual respect, e.g. arts, civic engagement, community health/well-being, economic development, education, equity, sustainability. (Adapted from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.)