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Learning Design Checklist: Evaluating and Reflecting on Past Projects Using a Simple Checklist

How do you reflect on your project-based experiences? How do you know if they were effective? 

When I first started as a PBL teacher, I rarely reflected on past projects. I simply didn't have the time. By the time one project finished, I was already busily planning and preparing for the next. If I did reflect, it was often rushed and unstructured; more of a formality than a meaningful experience.

It's not that I didn't want to reflect, I was always striving to improve. The problem was that I didn't know how. I had no idea which questions to ask.

Sound familiar? 

John Dewey, one of the giants of constructivist education once said, "We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience."

Project- Based Learning is no different.

There is no way for us to learn if we do not reflect.

Through meaningful reflection, we can build upon strengths; learn from mistakes; identify areas for improvement; and better manage experiences in the future.

The PBL checklist below has been designed to help start the conversation for meaningful reflection. It is a result of over a decade of experience in teaching and coaching teachers through developing and implementing project-based experiences, and is broken up into four simple categories:

  • Design

  • Assessment

  • Management

  • Student Work

The purpose of the checklist is not to give yourself an overall grade, but rather to open up a discussion on how to improve projects in the future.

After completing the short audit with your project team, consider these questions for further discussion:

  1. Where are our biggest strengths as project facilitators? Why do we think we are so strong in these areas?

  2. Where are our biggest gaps? How might we improve in these areas? 

  3. Did our student's work reflect the outcomes we hoped to achieve? Why or why not? 

If you are interested in discussing your results over a short 30 minute coaching call with a PBL expert coach, you can schedule that call here.

To your meaningful reflection!


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Kyle Wagner
School Transformation and Project- Based Learning Coach

I coach school leaders on how to lead change and improve student learning through simple, innovative srategies and teaming structures.

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