How To Tackle Project & Problem-Based Learning In Moodle

Apparently, we owe the term “project learning” to John Dewey and the dawn of the 20th century. This has not stopped a hundred years worth of confusion about its meaning, or the countless roadblocks about its implementations. A post on the blog tries to sort the practical implications between the many flavors of Project-Based Learning, with a particular concern for Problem-Based Learning.

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Writer and Editor in Chief John Larmer proposes “Project-Based Learning” as the broad framework, in which “Problem-Based” coexists with other, more specific practices.

Being “Project-Based” means that the “Learning” intervention is considered satisfactory after a “tangible product, performance or event” is accomplished. The defining characteristics of this outcome define the type of specific practice the project promotes, be it “Problem” or something else.

General Project Learning in Moodle

Hundreds of Moodle Activities, be it as standard features or through contributed Moodle Plugins, support Project-Based Learning at any stage.

Perhaps the easiest way to introduce a Project view within Moodle is by using the standard Moodle Workshop Activity, as it satisfies Larmer’s Project Based Learning checklist:

  1. Often multi subject
  2. May be lengthy (weeks or months)
  3. Follows general, variously-named steps
  4. Includes the creation of a product of performance
  5. May use scenarios but often involves real-world, fully authentic tasks and settings

The Moodle Workshop has been around at least since Moodle 2.7. Moodle 3.2 further enhances the Workshop’s capabilities, particularly in Larmer’s item #4, by supporting Portfolio export in workhsop.

Problem-Based Learning in Moodle

A subset of Project, “Problem” is by definition more specific, but the kind of activities within it can be broader and less defined. I would argue that the “project” structure, of a series of steps and a conclusive outcome, remains. But within each trait, the activities can be enriched. Of which in Moodle, a synonym is plugins.

Here are our suggestions of plugins for some of the defining features of Problem-Based Learning, compared to Project-Based:

Read the full PBL blog post at

moodlerooms-logoThis Moodle Practice related post is made possible by: MoodleRooms the open source learning experience by Blackboard. Rediscover Moodle. Click here to learn more.


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