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Aurora Institute


Issues in Practice, Lead Change and Innovation, Commit to Equity, Support Professional Learning, Rethink Instruction

Deepening Project-Based Learning: Lessons from Powerful New Research and Practice


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As we seek to shift the U.S. system of education toward competency-based education, project-based learning (PBL) offers a powerful strategy for greater student engagement and more authentic learning inside and outside the classroom. But does it work? And what are its implications for change at the school and district levels?

Please join a presentation and discussion on Thursday, May 20, 2021, at 2 – 3 PM ET / 11 AM -12 PM PT to hear from Lucas Education Research, the Aurora Institute, school and district leaders, and educators at the forefront of future-focused learning about powerful new evidence of the impact of project-based learning across grades, subjects, and subgroups. Gain insights to advance project-based learning practices in your school, district, or other setting. Highlights will include:

New Evidence

Four newly released, peer-reviewed research papers show that rigorous project-based learning in U.S. public schools has a strong and positive impact on student outcomes across content areas, grade levels, and various subgroups of students.


Researchers conducted these studies in diverse districts with large percentages of traditionally underserved students, indicating that project-based learning can be a powerful lever for improving equity in U.S. schools.

Systems Change

Adoption of project-based learning challenges the present modes of teaching, curriculum, assessment, accountability, and more. What does the new evidence contribute to our understanding of how to set and support the conditions for competency-based education at the local, district, and state levels—especially as we look ahead to promoting better in-person learning experiences post-pandemic?

Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand key takeaways from four new research studies examining the impact and efficacy of project-based learning.
  2. Leverage this research to deepen project-based learning practices within and beyond school and district contexts.
  3. Understand how project-based learning can be a powerful lever for improving educational equity and pursuing systems change.



Links to Research Studies, Briefs, Summary Documents, and Other Resources

Individual research briefs:

Related white papers:

Free OER project-based learning curriculum