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World Economic Forum Shortlists PBL

The gap between the 21st Century skills students need for their careers and skills taught in their schools is widely recognized. A newly-released WEF report, "Unlocking the Potential of Technology", identifies a number of pedagogical approaches that can integrate new technologies and help close the gap. Project based learning tops the list.


The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a prestigious “international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation.” It’s recently released report, “New Vision for Education”, is a study of almost 100 countries that looks at education in what WEF considers the “most critical 21st-century skills.” Not surprisingly, WEF finds that there are big gaps between these skills and what students are actually learning. It finds such gaps not only in developing countries. Sub-titled “Unlocking the Potential of Technology”, the report asserts that there are education technology innovations  that “can complement existing and emerging pedagogical approaches” …“to lower the cost and improve the quality of education.” The first such approach the WEF lists is project-based learning. Other approaches are listed as well, all of which are compatible with pbl. Since these others - adaptive learning, experiential learning, and inquiry based learning - all precede pbl alphabetically, we think that their listing PBL first is no accident.
In any case, the Executive Summary makes for some interesting reading on the state of education in the world and possible ways forward.
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