man on laptop learning through projects online

Learning Outside The Box With Project-Based Education

A dynamic educational experience known as project-based learning is sweeping the online learning field—leaving students more actively engaged than ever before. This exciting approach to learning, although not necessarily a new concept, has students of all abilities mastering competencies through participation rather than simply burying their heads in books.

As a major proponent of project-based education, Virtual Learning Academy Charter School believes this approach is an effective way of empowering today’s student to be engaged in their own education—rather than uninterested and uninspired to learn.

What is Project-based Learning?

Project-based education allows a student to further their learning in different disciplines by exploring real-world problems and challenges. The idea of project-based learning follows the tenets of an age-old idea of “learning by doing”—something of which both Confucius and Aristotle were early proponents, according to this short history of Project-Based Education by EduTopia.

At VLACS, students take part in project-based learning through a program called Learning Through Projects. The LTP program empowers students to learn and demonstrate mastery of academic content by working through and
completing projects. These projects may take the place of portions of or all of the traditional course content and allow a student to get an inside glimpse at real world professions and trades.

Here are a few of VLACS’s project-based learning examples that should get your creative and educational juices flowing:

  • Earth and Space Science—Earthquake and Volcano Risk: Learn about the impact that the Earth’s geosphere and interior composition can have upon the Earth’s surface while preparing volcano and earthquake risk assessment documents for two different regions or countries.
  • US History—Set Production Designer: Understand how cultural and artistic trends reflect or influence values by creating a set production design depicting ideas and values during specific times periods such as the 1920s.
  • French 1—HR Field Assistant Doctors Without Borders: Learn how to formulate questions and use verbs in French while preparing international teams from Doctors Without Borders with the vital information they need to travel and work in various French-speaking countries.
  • Physical Science—Helmet Design: Understand Newton’s Law of Motion by testing design elements to determine the best sports helmet to limit a force of impact and creating an ideal helmet.
  • English 1—Film Festival Programming: Learn how to listen and view critically for purposes of literary understanding through planning a film festival with a literary twist.

Project-based learning is an excellent method of learning by doing. When students are in charge of their own projects and not limited by instructor-defined parameters, they are only limited by their own imaginations. Projects become more meaningful and interesting when students take ownership of them.

Students demonstrate competency through performance assessments that are completed on their own with the guidance of a VLACS instructor. While not limited by instructor-defined parameters, these LTP projects have guidelines and offer direction to ensure that the student is mastering the competency at a deep level.

At VLACS, we strongly believe project-based learning is an excellent way to capture student interest, encourage critical thinking and teach complex concepts through experience, thought and action. We also offer a variety of courses and experiential learning opportunities designed to help students gain valuable experience in and out of the online classroom.

Contact us today to find out if online schooling is for you.



featured teachers on what it's like to teach for the state's only online charter school

Virtual Learning Academy Charter School Featured on NHPR

Pauline Landrigan (left) and Lisa Kent demonstrate what it's like to teach for VLACS, the state's only online charter school. Credit Sam Evans-Brown/NHPR VLACS’ Unique Online ...
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