Research on Project-Based Learning

A project-based, integrated approach to learning is supported by research. Wrigley (1998) points to how such an approach results in improved achievement and skills development over conventional teaching. Lake (1994), in her review of the research on integrated curriculum, reports the following:

“There is a small body of research related to the impact of an integrated curriculum on student attitudes. MacIver (1990) found that integrated program students developed team spirit and improved their attitudes and work habits. This was attributed, in part, to the fact that teachers met in teams and were able to quickly recognize and deal with a student's problem. Vars (1965) also reports that motivation for learning is increased when students work on "real" problems – a common element in integrated programs. When students are actively involved in planning their learning and in making choices, they are more motivated, reducing behavior problems. Jacobs (1989) also reports that an integrated curriculum is associated with better student self-direction, higher attendance, higher levels of homework completion, and better attitudes toward school. Students are engaged in their learning as they make connections across disciplines and with the world outside the classroom.”

Lipson, et al. (1993) summarizes the following findings:
  • Integrated curriculum helps students apply skills.
  • An integrated knowledge base leads to faster retrieval of information.
  • Multiple perspectives lead to a more integrated knowledge base.
  • Integrated curriculum encourages depth and breadth in learning.
  • Integrated curriculum promotes positive attitudes in students.
  • Integrated curriculum provides for more quality time for curriculum exploration.

The Schools We Need Project

Because some students need more than direct instruction.

The Schools We Need Project is a joint project of the Maine Center for Meaningful Engaged Learning at the University of Maine at Farmington
and ResulTech Educational Services