Research Briefs

The Center’s PBL Research Brief series addresses the research behind the pedagogy as related to a variety of applications and institutional environments—MSIs, first-year programs, graduate education and more.  Check back regularly for the latest additions to the series.
PBL & Demonstrating Mastery
This brief outlines and critiques scholarship on whether and how project-based learning (PBL) enhances opportunities to develop and demonstrate mastery in three high-impact practices (HIPs): common intellectual experiences, capstone courses and projects, and ePortfolios. PBL & High-Impact Practices in the Transition to College
This brief outlines and critiques the evidence supporting the use of PBL in three high-impact practices commonly used to support the transition to college. Project-Based Learning in the Social Sciences
This research brief describes themes from the scholarship on PBL in the social sciences, primarily at the undergraduate level. Project-Based Learning in the First Year
Student projects are often used after students have mastered the foundations, during capstone experiences and in advanced coursework. This research brief details the utility and impacts of using PBL at the beginning of students’ college careers in First Year Experiences. The existing scholarship is reviewed and case studies of different types of First Year Experiences using PBL are provided for further reading. Project-Based Learning in Graduate Education
This research brief highlights research on PBL with and for graduate students, describing how PBL enhances more traditional approaches to graduate education. A section on online graduate courses is included and case studies are provided for further guidance. Project-Based Learning in the Arts and Humanities
This research brief focuses on the research on PBL in the arts and humanities with a particular focus on digital humanities and the STEAM movement. Relatively little attention has been given to PBL in these disciplines, as compared to STEM, and the gaps in what we know are described Project-Based Learning in Community Colleges
This research brief examines the research on the effects of project-based learning on retention and academic learning within community college settings. Case studies of project-based learning in community colleges are suggested for further reading. Minority-Serving Institutions
This research brief discusses the research regarding the effectiveness of PBL pedagogies and curricula for Minority-Serving Institutions. Published case studies are suggested for further reading.