Project-Based Learning: Opportunities VS. Challenges


1 Department of English Language, Kerman Branch, Islamic Azad University, Kerman, Iran

2 Department of English Language, Islamic Azad University, Kerman Branch, Kerman, Iran


Project-based learning (PBL) has generated considerable research interest during recent decades. As a constructivist and learner-centered approach, PBL engages students in hands-on activities and prepares them for real life. The purpose of the present review is to probe into the status of PBL in teaching English as a second or foreign language (ESL/EFL) and its opportunities and challenges. Previous research has reported some benefits as well as pitfalls for the implementation of PBL. Specifically speaking, students can benefit from PBL because it triggers their motivation, engagement, creativity, communicative skills, and the development of critical thinking skills. However, there are some studies that highlighted the drawbacks of PBL such as classroom management, shortage of professional teachers, and students’ adaptation to their new role in PBL. Noteworthy to mention is that a substantial body of research has confirmed that the merits of PBL implementation outweigh its drawbacks. The learning model proposed by Mergendoller and Thomas (2005) provides a well-defined framework that can greatly minimize the challenges of PBL by providing clear structures to the teachers and clarifying different stages and learning objectives. Such a framework can also be beneficial to the students in adjusting to their new roles in PBL. The study ultimately concludes that teachers and researchers can hope for promising results if the adoption of PBL is carefully planned and carried out in different educational settings.


Article Title [Persian]

یادگیری پروژه محور: فرصت ها وچالش ها

Abstract [Persian]

 در دهه های اخیرپژوهشهای زیادی در خصوص یادگیری پروژه محور انجام شده است. این نوع یادگیری به عنوان یک رویکرد دانش آموز محور و ساختارگرایانه دانش آموزان را درگیر فعالیتهای عملی نموده و آنها را برای رویارویی با زندگی واقعی آماده می سازد. هدف از مطالعه مروری حاضر بررسی وضعیت یادگیری پروژه محور در آموزش زبان انگلیسی و هم چنین درک موقعیتها و چالشهای این نوع آموزش است. پژوهشهای پیشین مزایا و معایب یادگیری پروژه محور را گزارش کرده اند که به عنوان مثال میتوان به افزایش انگیزه، مشارکت، خلاقیت، مهارتهای ارتباطی و هم چنین تفکر انتقادی اشاره نمود. هر چند برخی مطالعات، مشکلاتی نظیر مدیریت کلاس، کمبود مدرسان حرفه ای، و تطبیق دانش آموزان با نقشهای جدید خود در آموزش پروژه محور را گزارش کرده اند. شایان ذکر است که تحقیق های قابل توجهی تایید کننده مزایای یادگیری پروژه محور نسبت به معایب آن میباشند. مدل یادگیری پیشنهاد شده توسط مرگن دولر و توماس (2005) چارچوب معینی را توسط دستورالعملهای خاص و تبیین مراحل مختلف و اهداف آموزشی برای مدرسان را ارائه مینماید که این چارچوب به نوبه خود چالشهای یادگیری پروژه محور را به حداقل کاهش می دهد. این چارچوب به زبان آموزان نیز کمک خواهد کرد که با نقشهای جدید خود در رویکرد پروژه محور سازگار شوند. مطالعه حاضر در نهایت بیانگر این نتیجه است که در صورتی که رویکرد پروژه محور با دقت لازم طراحی و مورد استفاده قرار گیرد می تواند نتایج امیدبخشی را در پی داشته باشد.

Keywords [Persian]

  • یادگیری پروژه محور
  • محیطهای آموزشی
  • موقعیتها
  • چالشها
Aghayani, B., & Hajmohammadi, E. (2019). Project-based learning: Promoting EFL learners’ writing skills. Language and Language Teaching, 22 (1), 78-85.
Aslanides, C. D., Kalfa, V., Athanasiadou, Gianelos, Z. & karapadsia, V. (2016). Advantages, disadvantages and the viability of project-based learning integration in engineering studies curriculum: The Greek Case. In 44th SEFI conference, Tampere, Finland.
Azman, N., & Shin, L. K. (2012). Problem-based learning in English for a second classroom. International Journal of Learning, 18 (6), 109-126.
Beckett, G. H. (2002). Teacher and student evaluation of project-based instruction. TESL Canada Journal, 19 (2), 52-66.
Beckett, G. H. (2006). Project-based second and foreign language education: Theory, research, and practice. In G. H. Beckett & P. Miller (Eds.), Project-based second and foreign language education: Past, present, and future (pp. 1-15). Greenwich, Connecticut: Information Age Publishing.
Bell, S. (2010). Project-based learning for the 21st century: Skills for the future. A Journal of Educational strategies, 83 (2), 39-43.
Blumenfeld, P. C., Soloway, E., Marx, R. W., Krajcik, J. S., Guzdial, M. & Palincsar, A. (1991). Motivating project-based learning: Sustaining the doing, supporting the learning. Educational Psychology, 26 (3-4), 369-398.
Boss, S. (2011). Project-based learning: A short history. Educate America Act.
Bradley-Levine, J., Berghoff, B., Seybold, J., Sever, R., Blackwell, S., & Smiley, A. (2010). What teachers and administrators need to know about project-based learning implementation?  Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American educational research association, Denver, Co.
Çırak, D. (2006). The use of project-based learning in teaching English to young learners. Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Selçuk University, Konya.
Condliffe, B. (2017). Project-based learning: A literature review. Retrieved from
Davies, A. (2007). Involving students in the classroom assessment process. Ahead of the Curve: The Power of Assessment to Transform Teaching and Learning, 31-57
Doppelt, Y. (2003). Implementation and assessment of project-based learning in a flexible environment. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 13 (2), 255-272.
Eyring, J. L. (1989). Teacher experience and student responses in ESL project work instruction: A case study. University of California, Los Angeles.
Fragoulis, L., & Tsiplakides, I. (2009). Project-based learning in teaching of English as a foreign language in Greek primary schools: From theory to practice. English Language Teaching, 2 (3), 113-119.
Gary, K. (2015). Project-based learning. Computers, 49 (9), 98-100.
Gillies, R. M. (2007). Cooperative learning: Integrating theory and practice: Sage.
Gultekin, M. (2005). The effect of project-based learning outcomes in the 5th grade social studies course in primary education. Educational Sciences: Theory and Practice, 5 (2), 18-30.
Guthrie, C. (2019). Towards greater learner control: Web supported project-based learning. Journal of Information Systems Education, 21 (1), 11-19.
Hamurcu, H. (2003). Project-based approach to teaching science in preschool education. Journal of Educational Researcher, 13, 66-72.
Hartley, J., & Davies, I. K. (1978). Note-taking: A critical review. Programmed Learning and Educational Technology, 15 (3), 207-224.
Helle, L., Tynjala, P., & Olkinvora, E. (2006). Project-based learning in post-secondary education-theory, practice and rubber sling shots. Higher Education, 51 (2), 287-314.
Hertzog, N. B. (2007). Transporting pedagogy: Implementing the project approach in two first-grade classrooms. Journal of Advanced Academics, 18 (4), 530-564.
Huberman, M., Bitter, C., Anthony, J., & O’Day, J. (2014). The shape of deeper learning: Strategies, structures, and cultures in deeper learning network high schools. American Institutes for Research.
Imtiaz. S., & Asif. S. I. (2012). “I almost learnt to learn”: Promoting learners’ autonomy through project-based learning in Access Classroom Language in India, 12 (1), 24-45.
Jincheng, J. (2020). The effects of project-based learning on Chinese vocabulary learning achievement of secondary three Thai students. Unpublished Master’s thesis. Rangsit University, Thailand.
Kavlu, A. (2015). The effect of project-based learning on undergraduate EFL students’ reading comprehension ability. Journal of Education in Black Sea Region, 1 (1), 39-44.
Kokotsaki, D., Menzies, V., & Wiggins, A. (2016). Project-based learning: A review of the literature. Improving Schools, 19 (3), 267-277.
Lamar, J. & Mergendoller, J. R. (2010). Seven essentials for project-based learning. Educational Leadership, 68 (1), 34-37.
Lee, J. S., Blackwell, J. D., & Moran, K. A. (2014). Taking a leap of faith: Redefining teaching and learning in higher education through project-based learning. Interdisciplinary Journal of problem-based learning, 8 (2), 2-9.
Leki, I. (2001). A narrow thinking system: Nonnative English-speaking students in group projects across the curriculum. TESOL Quarterly, 35, 39-67.
Mergendoller, J. R., & Thomas, J. W. (2005). Managing project-based learning: Principles from the field. Buck Institute for Education.
Newell, R. J. (2003). Passion for learning: How project-based learning meets the needs of 21st century students. Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group.
Pellegrino, J. W., & Hilton, M. L. (Eds.). (2012). Education for life and work: Developing transferable knowledge and skills in the 21st century. National academic Press.
Pourmandnia, D., Mohseni, A. Rahmanpanah, H., & Rostami Abusaeedi, A. A. (2021). Devloping EFL leaners’ referential and expressive types of writing implementing project-based writing procedure: Achievements and perceptions. Iranian Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 10 (4), 1-17.
Ravitch, D. (2000). Left back: A century of failed school reforms. Simon & Schuster.
Reeves, S., Xyrichis, A., & Zwarenstein, M. (2018). Teamwork, collaboration, coordination, and networking: Why we need to distinguish between different types of inter professional practice. Journal of Inter professional Care, 32 (1), 1-3.
Sadeghi, H., Biniaz, M., & Soleimani, H. (2010). The impact of project-based language learning on Iranian EFL learners comparison/contrast paragraph writing skills. International Journal of Asian Social Science, 6 (9), 510-524.
Sahli, R. (2017). An examination of the effectiveness of project-based learning on student academic achievement and teacher perceptions of project-based learning. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. Concordia University, Irvine. California.
Shafaei, A. (2011). Effect of project-based learning on vocabulary recall and retention: Case study from Iran: LAP Lambert Academic Publishing.
Shafaei, A. & Rahim, H. A. (2015). Does project-based learning enhance Iranian EFL learners’ vocabulary recall and retention? Iranian Journal of Language Teaching Research, 3 (2), 83-99.
Soleimani, H., Rahimi, Z., & Sadeghi, H. (2015). Project-based learning and its positive effects on Iranian EFL learners’ reading ability and vocabulary achievement. International Journal of English Language and Literature Studies, 4 (1), 1-9.
Stoller, L. S. (1997). Project work: A means to promote language content. Forum, 35 (4), 2-18.
Stoller, L. S. (2006). Establishing a theoretical foundation for a project-based learning in second and foreign language contexts. In G. H. Beckett & Miller, P. C. (Eds.), Project-based second and foreign language education: Past, present, and future (pp. 19-40). Greenwich, Connecticut, Information Age.
Talebinezhad, M. R., & Aliakbari, M. (2002). Evaluation and justification of a paradigm shift in the current ELT models in Iran. Linguistik Online, 10 (1), 21-28.
Thomas, J. W. (2000). A review of research on project-based learning. BIE Organization.
Tomlinson, B. (2012). Materials development for language learning and teaching. Language Teaching, 45 (2), 143-179.
Volger, J. S., Thomson, P., Davis, D. W., Mayfield, B. E., Finleg, P. M. & Yasseri, D. (2018). The hard work of soft skills: Augmenting the project-based learning experience with interdisciplinary teamwork. Instructional Science, 46 (3), 457-488.
Wang, B. T. (2016). Applying project-based and Zuvito to enhance English learning motivation. International Journal of Cyber Society and Education, 9 (1), 1-16.
Wang, M. (2012). Effects of cooperative learning on achievement motivation of female university students. Asian Social Science, 8 (1), 108-114.
Volume 2, Issue 3 - Serial Number 3
ISBN 9783899664812
December 2022
Pages 79-108
  • Receive Date: 26 July 2022
  • Revise Date: 15 September 2022
  • Accept Date: 08 November 2023