Training Guide for engaged and active learning, based on project /problem

Hadas Huber, Davida Pollak & Gordon College active learning team


Engage and active learning inspired from project and problem (PBL) – is a teaching method, which is based on mutual work and cooperation between teacher and students, in order to accomplish any project.

In order to make it realistic and beneficial, the process is being held within the relevant community, and for that particular community.

The task of the lecturer is mainly to guide the students and coordinate the studies, while presenting the students with several options of the learning processes.

This way, we encourage the students to take full responsibility on their own learning. And they accept it. While they learn how to learn by themselves, they are also bound to learn and widely develop their other skills: creative thinking, asking questions, self regulation, how to debate, initiate, and so on.

-   Encouraging the students  to appreciate the essence of meaningful learning process based on researches to debate  on what is the best way to teach in the classroom? What would it take to refine the cognitive and metacognitive processes? What does it take to improve the learning process?

-  To nurture thinking and personal experience in the PBL process.

-  Practicing PBL empowers the teachers' abilities while promoting the practical aspects of the teaching profession in two levels: the first, is developing a self-learning person, while experiencing self-regulation and the personal learning/teaching process. Second: an improvement of their own personal skills, knowledge and self-esteem.


The finished products are published in the community in exhibitions, article in local newspapers, lectures, launching an actual project or workshop for the community.

This way, the PBL process creates a positive experience, both for the students, as well as the Faculty.

-  Both faculty and student, have to constantly seek and update their own knowledge, values and skills.

To sum up: experiencing active and engaged learning can help to clarify some of the aspects concerning some important questions:

  • How do we define Active and involved learning?
  • Why is it associated with projects and dilemmas?
  • What is the potential for students and teacher if we use it properly?


  • Promoting meaningful emotional and cognitive learning
  • Experiencing personal and interpersonal relationships which is based on three components that are held simultaneously:
  1. values
  2. involvement
  3. relevance
  • Promoting knowledge, skills and values required in the 21st century.
  • Encouraging dialogue between all partners in action, transparency, trust and autonomy.
Recommended venues for training

The main purpose of this faculty training is to increase the use of teaching methods that are fostering active and involved learning specifically PBL/PjBL.

The training venues must be adapted to the institute and relevant teams via any of the following or a combination of them: Workshops, online courses, personal tutoring, extended training. We recommend a three step modular training, depending on participant maturity, as detailed below:

Step 1 - Getting to know the method. 2 hour session up to 12 participants

Step 2 - Deepening knowledge -practicing main principles. 2-3 hour session up to 12 participants

Step 3 - Adapting relevant courses to be taught as PBL or PjBL . Individual coaching.

The module theme/s (with relation to the 5 project domains)


Learning outcomes

At the end of the training, depending on the maturity of the participant and the step, participants will be able to:

Step 1:

  • Explain what it is PBL or PJBL and giving examples

Step 2:

Deepening knowledge -practicing main principles

  • Present authentic and relevant dilemma/questioned/issue in a way that is beneficial to a relevant community and subject matter.
  • create fertileful questions
  • choose meaningful and relevant dilemma

Step 3:

  • Adapt their courses to the presented method
  • Use PBL/PJBL and specifically deal with “big questions”
  • Conduct processes of fine tuning that are meaningful for their student

Cope with students frustration during the process

Training guide for Engaged and active learning in Higher Education

This training guide include 3 steps according to the faculty maturity in this subject.


Step 1: Plenary meeting up to 12 participant (2 hours)

Getting to know the underpinning theories of  PBL/PjBL and its benefit for Education.

Duration in minutes


Materials and aids

10 min plannary

self introduction and matching expectation

Each participant will say what he/she expects


5 min plannary

Watching video :Project Based Learning: Explained.


30 min

Discussing differences between  active learning  methods

Project-Based Learning vs. Problem-Based Learning vs. X-BL[1]

Basic theory[2]


15 min- task little groups

2-4 participant

Building a mind map of the discussed concepts. Each group will organize the learned new knowledge and insights

participant may use paper or digital tools like Coggle


20 min -  plennary

Presenting The maps


10 min summing up

Which Principles of PBL/PjBL were present in our session ?


feedback questionnaire?



[1] "Project-Based Learning vs. Problem-Based Learning vs. X-BL - Edutopia." 6 Jan. 2014, Accessed 13 Apr. 2017.

[2] "The Teacher's Guide to Project-based Learning - Innovation Unit."'s%20Guide%20to%20Project-based%20Learning.pdf. Accessed 13 Apr. 2017.

Step 2: Plenary meeting up to 12 participant (2 hours)

Deepening knowledge - practicing main principles. Basic knowledge of the method is required.

Duration in minutes


Materials and aids

10 min Opening

Presenting main principle of PBL/PjBL

Project-Based Learning vs. Problem-Based Learning vs. X-BL

Basic theory

20 min

How to  formulate a relevant fertile question?

Teaching and learning in a community of thinking[1]

20 min task

Build a fertile question for you audience and add it to a Shared document - Fertile questions


30 min

From Theory to Practice

Applying to High Education

The basic 12 steps to build a project


Discussion - what can be taken to your course?


[1] "Teaching and Learning in a Community of Thinking." Accessed 13 Apr. 2017.

Step 3: Individual coaching or little groups

- One long session building the course outline according to PBL/PjBL principles.

- Few short session during the semester.

Duration in minutes


Materials and aids

30 min

presenting discussing examples of adapted courses

Creative Use of Tablets in Kindergarten

Teaching Mathematics in primary schools

Project Based Learning (PBL) in an Academic Institute

30 min

Defining Learning outcomes

and Design the course.

The basic 12 steps to build a project

Fine tuning protocol

Engaged and active learning ppt

30 min

Adapting Assessment of course and developing alternative assessments that takes into account the learning process and outcomes

Collaborative Problem Solving Empirical Progressions[1]

[1]Griffin, P. (2014) Collaborative Problem Solving: Empirical Progressions Version 1.1, Accessed 13 Apr. 2017.

Material and Training evaluation

Evaluation will be done by divers methods:  reflection, interviews and  questionnaire with a grade scale of 1 to 5, including question like:

  • How do faculty rate the training?
  • Does the theoretical material supplied covers the need?
  • Does the course you developed in the workshop, apply the constructivist approach?
  • Is the course adapted to a wide range of populations, assignment levels and subjects?