Learning By Project: Developing Essential 21st Century Skills Using Student Team Projects

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There is a general consensus among educators, business, and other interested parties that a significant gap exists between the knowledge and skills needed for success in life and the current state of education in primary and secondary education schools throughout the world. "Project Learning" has been identified as a key methodology for closing this gap between current student learning and developing their necessary knowledge and skills essential for success in the 21st century. Educators and business have identified seven key skill sets (to be referred to as “7-Cs”) as essential to be:

•Critical thinking and problem-solving

•Creativity and innovation

•Collaboration, teamwork and leadership

•Cross-cultural understanding

•Communications and information fluency

•Computing and ICT fluency

•Career and learning self-reliance

These “7-Cs” are the skills students gain from project-based learning activities. Multiple proposals to improve student performance in science, engineering, technology and mathematics use Project Learning as a construct for student engagement. The proposed presentation will include a review of several current project-based learning endeavors, especially the Project Learning Partnership, and address the successes these programs and have had in improving student learning.


Keywords: Project Learning, Project-Based Learning, Constructivist Learning, 21st Century Skills
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Learning by Project


Prof. William A. Moylan

Instructor of Construction Management, School of Engineering Technology, Eastern Michigan University
Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA

Prof. William Moylan, PhD, PMP, is on the faculty of Eastern Michigan University’s College of Technology and instructs in Construction Management. In addition, he consultants, trains, and acts as an expert witness in Project Management and Construction Safety. Dr. Moylan has extensive professional experience in all aspects of program and project management. He has worked on new product development, manufacturing, information systems, facility engineering, and construction projects within the heavy construction, oil & gas production, petroleum, chemical processing, energy, academic, government, public service, automotive, and manufacturing industries. In July 2005, Dr. Moylan was awarded his Ph.D. in Organization & Management with focus in Leadership from the Capella University School of Business. His dissertation research was on values-based leadership concepts, values and skills, and its application to building ethical partnerships in the construction industry. He received his BS in Construction Engineering from Lawrence Technological University; and, his Masters from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Moylan is active in a variety of professional societies and civic activities, including the Project Management Institute, the Engineering Society of Detroit, Habitat for Humanity, and, Toastmasters International.

Ref: L08P0310