The global tech skills shortage has created a situation where millions of unfilled tech positions are waiting to be filled by qualified individuals. According to the IMF, by 2030, the global tech skills shortage will reach 85 million and represent a staggering $8.5 trillion in lost revenue each year.
All this means that lucrative opportunities await those interested in reskilling to high-paying, high-demand tech jobs. There are also a wide variety of training options available — the challenge lies in finding the right one for the individual’s needs.
So how are tech reskillers — those who left a previous profession to pivot to a career in tech — supposed to display job readiness for tech positions if they’ve never had the chance to work on a real-life project?
The answer lies in finding training programs that balance frontal lectures with actual exercises, projects, and workshops that give students the opportunity to put their newly acquired knowledge to work.
That’s where project-based learning comes in.
What is Project-Based Learning?
Project-Based Learning is a teaching method in which students work on a long, collaborative, and multidisciplinary project that combines content knowledge, skills, and real-world problem solving. PBL is intended to foster deeper learning, critical thinking, creativity, and cooperation, as well as the development of fundamental skills such as communication, teamwork, time management, and research. Individual or group projects can be completed, and they frequently include hands-on experiences, fieldwork, and presentations. PBL is employed in a variety of educational settings, including K-12 schools, higher education, and professional development and vocational tech training programs.
What are the benefits of Project-Based Learning?
Project-based learning has a number of advantages, including:
- Encourages Cooperation and Communication: Project-based learning frequently involves group work or cohort-based learning, which can inspire students to collaborate and communicate effectively with one another.
- Engagement and Motivation: Projects allow students to investigate themes that interest them and connect with the curriculum in a more hands-on manner, which makes it a highly inspiring and engaging learning process.
- Develops Critical Thinking Skills: Project-based learning helps students develop critical thinking skills by asking them to examine, synthesize, and evaluate material from different sources in order to finish their assignment.
- Builds Real-World Skills: Projects are frequently meant to imitate real-world settings, which can assist students in developing skills directly transferable to their future employment.
- Improves Retention: Project-based learning can boost retention because it allows students to engage with the information in a more meaningful way, making it more likely that they will remember what they have learned.
- Encourages Creativity: Projects frequently push students to think creatively and come up with novel solutions to issues, which can help them strengthen their creative thinking skills.
- Gives Quick Feedback: Project-based learning allows for instant feedback on student work, which can help students learn and grow more quickly.
What are some of the challenges of Project-Based Learning?
While project-based learning has numerous advantages, educators may face some difficulties while applying this instructional model. Here are some typical challenges:
- Time management: Project-based learning necessitates a significant amount of planning, execution, and reflection. It might be challenging to squeeze in all of the necessary components, especially when other topics or activities compete for teaching time.
- Assessment: Because projects are generally open-ended and creative, it can be difficult to assess student learning and growth. Instructors may need to develop new evaluation procedures or technologies to adequately evaluate student work.
- Group dynamics: Collaboration projects can be useful learning experiences, but they can also be a source of conflict and dissatisfaction for students. Instructors must be capable of facilitating group work and dealing with any interpersonal issues that occur.
- Resource limitations: Certain projects demand specific resources or equipment that may not be available in all cases. Instructors may need to be resourceful in identifying ways to supply needed resources or adapt project criteria properly.
- Differentiated instruction: Because project-based learning is student-centered and self-directed, it can be tough to differentiate instruction for students with varied learning styles or skills. Instructors may need to provide additional support or scaffolding for some students in order to ensure their success in the assignment.
Project-Based Learning Examples
- App Development: Students can work on developing a mobile app that solves a real-world problem. Kids can learn about coding experience, user experience design, and marketing principles while designing the app.
- Robotics: Children can learn about robotics by building and programming robots to accomplish certain tasks. Students can work on a project like developing a robot to travel through an obstacle course or to accomplish a task like sorting objects.
- Web Design: Students can gain experience in web design by creating a website for a genuine client or a non-profit organization. Students can learn about user experience, coding, and project management.
- Data Analysis: Students can work on a data analysis project that involves gathering and evaluating data in order to solve a real-world problem. They could, for example, collaborate on a project to evaluate traffic patterns or predict customer behavior for a business.
- Cybersecurity: Students can learn about cybersecurity by working on projects such as building a security mechanism for a website or network. Pupils can learn about security procedures, encryption, and threat detection.
Project-Based Learning vs. Traditional Teaching Methods
Project-based learning (PBL) is an educational strategy that stresses real-world problem-solving, collaboration, and self-directed learning. Traditional teaching methods, on the other hand, typically involve lectures, memorization, and exams. Here are some distinctions between PBL and traditional teaching methods:
- Learning approach: PBL emphasizes the application of knowledge in real-world circumstances, whereas traditional teaching approaches emphasize knowledge acquisition.
- Student engagement: PBL enables students to take ownership of their learning, whereas traditional teaching techniques tend to be teacher-centered.
- Assessment: PBL stresses knowledge demonstration through projects, whereas traditional teaching approaches concentrate on exams and assessments.
- Collaboration: PBL stresses collaboration and teamwork, whereas traditional teaching techniques are more individualized.
- Trainer Role: In PBL, the trainer serves as a facilitator or coach, whereas in traditional teaching techniques, the instructor is the expert and primary source of information.
Getting Started With Project-Based Learning
Wawiwa Tech is a leading provider of vocational tech training programs that fully believes in the effectiveness and necessity of hands-on training and projects for driving graduates towards job-ready success. Our proprietary Job-Effective Training (JET) design training methodology offers a 30/70 blend of frontal lectures and, mostly, hands-on work and applicative projects.
According to Eran Lasser, Founder and CEO of Wawiwa Tech, project-based training gives hiring managers a snapshot of a candidate’s potential value: “Wawiwa focuses on preparing our students for a career in tech. Having reskilled over 50,000 tech professionals during my career, I can tell you that while tech knowledge is important for recruitment, experience is much more important for employers. That’s why our pedagogical model leans heavily towards project-based learning. Having an impressive portfolio of projects that showcase students’ abilities, and teamwork experience they can talk about in vivid details helps our graduates more than anything in getting the tech job they desire.”
To further this end, Wawiwa integrates Bring It Together (BIT) projects towards the end of each tech training program. The projects integrate the knowledge and skills that the students have learned during the program. BIT projects are usually done in pairs or larger teams to help students develop important soft skills like collaboration and teamwork while programming and testing the technical functionality of their applications.
When it comes to getting an interview, a certificate is nice to have, but for actual recruitment, employers look for hands-on experience as a glimpse into the true abilities of the candidate. Education institutions that wish to supply job-ready and employable graduates to their local tech ecosystem should source tech training programs that put an emphasis on hands-on work and projects, like Wawiwa’s.
Find out more about Wawiwa’s tech training programs today.