Development of the PBL-Online Website

In 2003, the Buck Institute for Education published a revised, second edition of the BIE Project Based Learning Handbook. By 2007, there were twenty thousand educators throughout the world using the BIE PBL Handbook to help them conceive, plan, implement and assess engaging, standards-focused projects. The popularity of the Handbook convinced the Buck Institute for Education that an online resource distilling the information, examples and resources contained in the PBL Handbook would benefit educators who were committed to Project Based Learning but did not own the BIE PBL Handbook.

We had several goals for this new web site which we titled, “PBL-Online.” The first goal was to provide a brief introduction to the basic ideas and methodology underlying Project Based Learning. A second goal was to create an interactive site that would coach pre-service and practicing teachers through the process of planning a project. A third goal was to develop a project library – we called it a “collaboratory” – that teachers could search or browse to find ideas for projects. We also wanted teachers to contribute their own projects to the collaboratory, and include relevant images and documents about the project. A final goal was to provide access to a three credit, online course about Project Based Learning.

PBL-Online is based on the PBL planning methodology developed by BIE in consultation with a group of expert PBL teachers throughout the United States. For more background on PBL, the BIE PBL methodology, and links to PBL resources for training and information, please click here.

PBL-Online will guide you through the proven method for planning a project described in BIE Project Based Learning Handbook. No log in is required.

To explore a library of example projects that you can search and download for your use, log in to the Collaboratory. When you log in, you become a member of the PBL online community. You can collaborate on projects. You can also post your own project and share it with other teachers.

For pre-service or in-service teachers, this site also offers a complete on-line course, including a teacher handbook and a student handbook. The course may be adapted as a three-unit course or offered as part of professional development programs. You may download this course and place it on your course management system (e.g., Blackboard, Moodle), as long as you give BIE some basic identifying information such as the name of the instructor, course title and number, and the name of the university offering the course. Contact to request more information.

PBL-Online was developed under the leadership of the Buck Institute for Education, a leading source for professional development, materials and research on Project Based Learning in the United States and throughout the world. For more information on BIE or the products and services it provides, visit