Creating an Authentic Learning Environment with Project-Based Learning
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The future of education in Alberta is being shaped by the need for cross-curricular competencies and 21st-century skills, as outlined in Inspiring Education (Alberta Education, 2010), Ministerial Order on Student Learning (Alberta Education, 2013), and Cross-curricular Competencies (Alberta Regional Consortia, 2013). This paper explores the learning benefits of a project-based learning environment and how a middle school in Central Alberta utilized project-based learning for these benefits. Research details the essential elements of project-based learning and how these elements lead to student achievement. Components such as a challenging problem or question, sustained inquiry, authenticity, student voice and choice, reflection, critique and revision, and public product are explored. While research supports the implementation of project-based learning to create authentic learning environments, future research should focus on measurable outcomes for competencies.