Online Course: Becoming a PBL Teacher

Build your knowledge of the Gold Standard PBL Teaching Practices to become a stronger facilitator of Project Based Learning.

Course Description

For teachers seeking to engage their students in deep and long-lasting learning through Project Based Learning, PBLWorks offers a facilitated course—Becoming a PBL Teacher—to guide teachers in building the knowledge and key teaching practices to become PBL teachers. 

Cost: $399



Winter: Mondays, January 23 - March 24, 2023
Summer: Mondays, June 5 - July 28, 2023
Fall: Mondays, September 11 - November 10, 2023

Time: 6:30-8 p.m. (Central Time)

Optional graduate-level professional development credit will be available through Southern New Hampshire University for an additional $120 fee. More information about credits is available at first course session.

Who should take this course?

This course is ideal for teachers who are just getting started with Project Based Learning and/or those looking to strengthen the practices that lead to successful and sustainable implementation of PBL. 

It's also a good fit for teachers seeking to advance their PBL expertise and those who want to earn optional graduate-level professional development credit. 

Course outcomes

  • Build on existing practice to become a stronger Project Based Teacher. 
  • Understand the mindset and conditions students need to achieve rigorous learning goals through PBL. 
  • Know how to use Project Based Teaching practices to benefit ALL students. 
  • Identify the next steps for continued growth as a Project Based Teacher.

The essentials

  • Instruction: Facilitated 90-minute weekly sessions and independent work
  • Grading: Pass/Fail
  • Class Size: Up to 50 students
  • Course Length: 8 weeks
  • University Credit: Optional graduate-level professional development credit is available for add-on fee.

What to expect?

Course Outline

Week 1: Build the Culture – required 90-minute online session
Create a welcoming learning community with your fellow course participants and learn why high-quality PBL is “main course” learning.

Week 2: Design and Planindependent work and optional online session
Focus on the 7 Essential Project Design Elements for Gold Standard PBL to set the stage for high-quality learning experiences for your students. 

Week 3: Align to Standardsindependent work and optional online session
Align your project to learning goals that are important and appropriate for PBL to ensure academic rigor.

Week 4: Manage Activities – required 90-minute online session
Build your project management toolkit and experience what it’s like to interview a content expert.  

Week 5: Scaffold Student Learningindependent work and optional online session
Ensure that all students can succeed with PBL by planning for appropriate support. 

Week 6: Assess Student Learning independent work and optional online session
Apply assessment strategies to keep learning on track in a project from start to finish. 

Week 7: Engage and Coachindependent work and optional online session
Fine-tune your strategies for engaging and coaching students by focusing on your “teacher moves” at the beginning, middle, and end of projects. 

Week 8: Celebrate and Reflect – required 90-minute online session
Showcase your learning and reflect on your next steps as a Project Based Teacher in our final online session.

Additional Course Details

  • Learning Documents & Materials

    Required Text: none, required materials are provided online

    Supplemental Reading (optional): Setting the Standard for Project Based Learning (Boss, Larmer, & Mergendoller, 2015)

    In addition, each module includes:

    • Background building (via short readings, video case studies, interactive learning activities)
    • Formative assessment (either for self-assessment or shared with facilitator), including focused discussions, weekly reflection, open response prompts, quizzes, and peer critique.
    • Collaborative learning (e.g., guided discussion with subset of classmates, collaborative response to scenarios)
  • Assignments
    • Weekly journal entry in response to specific reflection prompt (journal is submitted as final deliverable)
    • Final product will be presented in Week 8 during a synchronous session and contributed to an idea bank
    • Peer assessments, based on rubric for final product
  • Technical Requirements


    • Desktop, laptop, Chromebook, or Surface PRO 4 or newer are ideal. (We do not recommend iOS or Android tablets)
    • Speakers (either external or internal) or headphones/earbuds 
    • Webcam (either external or internal)


    Internet Connection

    • An internet connection – broadband wired or wireless
    • 3Mbps/3Mbps (upload/download) – Not sure? Check here. 


    Operating Systems

    • Mac OS 10.10 or newer, Windows 10 or newer, and Chrome OS Browsers
    • Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge are recommended.



    • Zoom Video Conferencing program (latest update), available for free download here
    • Google Docs via a Google-enabled account. Free sign up here.
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Why we're excited about this online course.

Teachers who use Project Based Learning often say, “This is how I’ve always wanted to teach!” It’s exciting to see students actively engaged in learning, gaining deeper understanding, building skills and developing confidence. But, as we often say, teachers don’t become PBL experts overnight. It takes time to adjust from traditional practices. 

This new online course is designed to guide teachers in their shift to becoming a PBL teacher. You’ll learn how to incorporate effective teaching practices you already use into the framework of PBL, and you’ll learn how to assume a new and rewarding role in the classroom. Instead of mainly being a transmitter of knowledge, you’ll gain the skills to become a well-informed coach, a facilitator of learning, and a guide through the inquiry process--forming a learning partnership with your students.

Your course will be facilitated by our National Faculty, a hand-picked group of seasoned teachers, administrators, school coaches, authors, and PBL experts who conduct professional development activities on behalf of PBLWorks.

2023 Dates

Winter: Mondays, January 23 - March 24, 2023
Summer: Mondays, June 5 - July 28, 2023
Fall: Mondays, September 11 - November 10, 2023

Time: 6:30-8 p.m. (Central Time)

Register now