Project Based Learning. Easy. Meaningful.

How can anyone meaningfully and easily engage with DYW work?

Within the DYW Dundee & Angus team we have organised, supported and been involved in a variety of different events and projects that have offered young people the opportunity to learn more about the world of work and the huge range of careers that are available to them, as well as gain invaluable soft skills.

One method of engagement we have seen that has immediate and long term positive impact, particularly in comparison to the level of commitment required, is Project Based Learning.

Project Based Learning is when a company/organisation/professional sets a project for pupils based on their day-to-day job i.e. a marketing brief, a research challenge, a commission, a presentation etc. (Click the highlighted words to read about some great local examples.) This can be a stand-alone project, or built into the class curriculum. The company setting the project can be as involved as they (or their diary) would like. Once up and running these projects are often sustainable and easily repeatable.

Project Based Learning allows pupils to discover through personal experience how what they learn in school is used in the world of work. Learning becomes valuable for more than simply passing exams. In participating pupils also have the opportunity to develop invaluable soft skills, needed in any working environment, as well as learn about a potentially new career or industry.

Project Based Learning offers a very flexible avenue of engagement for employers to link to education. They are also a brilliant illustrative method of showcasing and promoting an industry or business and can even be used as the foundation of a talent pipe-line. The business must set the project at the start (often a single school period session, about an hour) and then participate in the conclusion of the project i.e. watching presentations, again often only a single school period. There is always the opportunity to offer support and guidance throughout the project via mentoring, email, skype, visits, a site visit or more. Each project, its outcomes and requirements, is tailored to the situation and timetables and responsibilities agreed in advance.

For teachers Project Based Learning offers a straightforward way to bring DYW into the classroom and to offer employer engagement. Project Based Learning can be used in any subject area. With notice these projects can be built into the curriculum, allowing the course to be taught with direct reference to the world of work. This often also creates work that can be used as evidence for the SQA i.e. research notes, presentations, posters, websites, etc. Some Project Based Learning can offer extracurricular opportunities to those pupils who are particularly keen or are looking for more experience. Other Project Based Learning opportunities are a good alternative to SQA courses by offering experience as well as knowledge that is far more relevant to employers. (Click the highlighted words to read about some great local examples.) Done once these projects can be repeated again, or adapted slightly, for the next year group.

Everyone involved gains something from Project Based Learning, ranging from simple community engagement and new knowledge to a product, tool or idea that will benefit the business and a career to aim for and a pathway to achieving it.

Project Based Learning work in every subject and industry for pupils of all ages and businesses of all sizes. If you are at all interested in this type of work, don’t hesitate to get in contact with DYW Dundee & Angus.