Project vs. Problem-Based Learning

Published On: June 27th, 2016·By ·

Do you know the difference between project and problem-based learning?

Project and problem-based learning are two different open-ended task structures commonly used in the modern classroom. I found a chart comparing and contrasting the two on social media and wanted to share it with you. I watch social media closely and it's my job to share some of the hot topics on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other outlets that teachers, principals, students, and parents are contributing.

The infographic, created by Art Schultz, was posted by Alex Corbitt on his personal Twitter account. The infographic explains that both learning systems incorporate open-ended questions or tasks, authentic applications of content and skills, build 21st -century competencies, and emphasiz student independence and inquiry. However, there are some major differences as well, as you can see in the infographic below.

problem based learning

One major difference between the two learning systems is that project-based learning is on a larger, longer scale than problem-based learning. Project-based learning involves an entire project, while the other revolves around one problem. Therefore, problem-based learning is often smaller in scale and has fewer moving parts than project-based learning. Yes, both are useful methods to incorporate into your teaching retinue.

You can learn how to get started on project-based learning here.

Do you use either of these two learning systems in your teaching? What are some other differences between them? What are other similar teaching systems you've used in the classroom successfully before?

Tori Pakizer is the Social Media Editor at She writes regularly about the use of educational technology in K-12 classrooms, and specializes in how teachers use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media. You can follow Tori and SimpleK12 on Twitter @SimpleK12. If you have ideas for using social media in schools, please send your information or tip to

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