By Deepak Bajaj,
Projects are an instrument of change. Project-based education is a new-age teaching dynamic teaching approach for classrooms which aims to engage students in actively exploring and solving real-world problems and challenges. This gives students an opportunity to get involved in projects that are meaningful to them personally. They get to collaborate with diverse individuals to unleash their creativity to solve complex questions. They get to work in a team for an extended period, which acts as a real-world simulation of their future work environment and improves learning outcomes.
The rationale behind project-based education starts from this premise. With case-based or project-based education, the experience the student carries is more practical, and skill/competency-oriented learning, which is applicable in real-life projects, and the solutions the students can propose are more acceptable in a professional setting, thereby increasing the prospects of success.
With the increased complexity, financial value, and stakes involved in the projects, professionals with past learning and knowledge from case-based learning would fare better than others.
They need to know how to work sustainably and make optimum use of scarce resources. This knowledge and skill will go a long way for the new generation.
Each project will teach them the importance of time and responsibility for the timely delivery of the outcomes. Often, professionals are unable to focus on the real task at hand, with little or no clarity about the objectives of the exercise. However, with project-based education, the specific goals of the case force them to focus and develop solutions. This would keep them in good stead for future professional life.
Understanding that projects are all temporary and have a beginning and end, and a timeline is an essential part of project-based learning where all must break down the project into unique defined tasks, milestones, and deliverables along the way to take a project towards a conclusion. It gives students a feel of real professional life where no two projects are the same; all are unique, even though their outcomes may be similar, but how to get there and who is driving it changes the journey.
The projects also teach a lesson on working in collaboration with individuals who are different from them, and projects cannot be done in isolation. One must learn to work with other members of the team who have divergent views. All of them have different journeys, yet they come together for the project temporarily and then drift apart and never to be seen again or some stay in your life longer.
Projects also tell us about patience, endurance, persistence, and finally achieving the performance to the best of your ability without compromise in the effort to achieve success. It also teaches why you often don’t succeed due to dependence on others who do not deliver on time or of the quality you wish and project needs. These failures are a part of life that project-based education teaches appropriately. Lessons learned and not to be repeated are also part of learning.
All these life lessons, non – project-based education would not provide to the fullest; hence, in my view, project-based education should be compulsory for all students of all levels. They would thank us in the long run for providing this experience and learning through this medium.
I feel that project management and project-based education are for everyone to undertake as we all will be managing projects professionally, socially, and in every walk of life.
The author is FRICS associate dean, director, RICS School of Built Environment, Amity University. Expressed views are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the FinancialExpress.com.