Moursund project-based learning model

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The Moursund project-based learning model as presented here has been published in one of the most popular textboooks, intitled "Project-based learning: Using Information Technology".

The model presented here draws from a summary of Moursund (2002: 57-64). We did not simply "pick out item headings", therefore it is our (DSchneider)'s reading of the model.

See also: project-oriented learning and project-based learning


This model can be applied (or rather adapted) to a wide range of project-based learning at various levels of teaching.

Definition of goals

Typicially project-based learning involves definition of different kinds of goals, e.g.:

  1. Gain knowledge and skills within a global (class-wide) subject area
  2. Gain knowledge and skills in individual project-related subject areas
  3. Improve IT skills (in particular improve ICT-enhanced "knowledge working" and "community of practice") skills
  4. Improve general problem solving skills including metacognitive and other learning strategies.

Definition of the PBL Lesson(s) Topic(s)

under construction

The PBL lesson implementation Model

This is only a short summary, please refer to the book for details. Note that this is a generic outline that needs to adapted to each situation.

Getting started

  1. Define the topic
  2. Define timelines, milestones and assessment methods
  3. Identify resources
  4. Identify prequisites
  5. Advance organization (introduce project-methodology, skills that will have to be acquired etc.)
  6. Form teams

Initial Team Activity - Project Planning

  1. Knowledge pooling by team members
  2. Initial project specification, e.g. formulate objectives and questions. At university level, this should lead to a research design.
  3. Planning, e.g. definition of workpackages, milestones and timelines
  4. Formal teacher feedback
  5. Revision of the project specification and plan (if need return to steps 2 and 3)

Project Implementation

  1. Have students complete one task and milestone at a time. Make sure that students engage in regular meetings
  2. Refining of project definition
  3. Sharing between team members (make sure that there is collaboration and cooperation, you decide)
  4. Provide feedback (this incluse peer-to-peer tutoring, global feedback to the class for all projects, etc.)
  5. Move toward completion.
  6. Repeat all steps until all milestones have been met


  1. Students have to polish the final product and prepare associated presentations.
  2. Assessment: The whole class should assist at the presentation of the results. Students may have the occasion to integrate a last feedback.
  3. Closing session with the whole class discussing the experience


DSchneider believes that this model is very representative for project-based learning. In his own practise he uses strong story-boarding with common milestones for all groups and strong usage of ICT, i.e. making sure that each production is reified, that collective exchange activities are organized at the class level at regular intervals, that students engage in reflective thinking etc. See the C3MS project-based learning model and the C3MS article.

It's a way to specialize the general Moursund model.


About instructional design models and educational policy

Moursund's website also features a nice cartoon that we would like to share

Copyright: Jerry King and From Now On


  • Moursund, David (2002) Project-based learning: Using Information Technology, 2nd edition, ISTE. ISBN 1-56484-196-0
    • Some chapters of prior edition are available online