Last week, a brilliant edu-innovator reached out to me with a simple question:

How do I get more staff on board for PBL?

She was tired of being the lone innovator who let students take charge of learning experiences, while she gently guided in the background.

But last Tuesday, she had her chance.

As director of innovation, she was given 1 hour by the Head of School to lead a training around project-based learning to try and get others on board.

I shared with her the same 3 step strategy I use with all schools facing a similar challenge.

Inspire.’ ‘Connect.’ ‘Expand.’

The first step involves looking at learning experiences that inspire educators to imagine what’s possible in their own classrooms.
The second step asks staff to connect to strategies they are already imploring.
The third, and most important step, asks them to expand what’s possible for future learning experiences.


After imploring this simple 3 step formula, you will have even the most skeptical teachers eating from the palm of your hand.

Below are three resources to deploy it with your staff.

Strategy #1: Use a High-Quality Video Case Study

The video above is a perfect starting point for imagining and inspiring possibilities in staff. It shares the story of how one classroom helped tell the stories of immigrants in their community. Preface it by explaining that you are going to view a DEEP, student-centered learning experience in action, and. ask staff to connect with specific parts of the learning experience that mirrors their own. After celebrating those shared connections, challenge staff to expand their thinking for how to use common components in designing new units.

Strategy #2: Lead a Discussion Using a High-Quality Text Based Case Study

The linked article above is a great introduction for staff to the 8 essential components for student-centered learning experiences. At best, it will mirror what staff already does naturally; at worst, it will open up possibilities and ideas for what’s possible. After reading, ask staff to connect with one of the 8 essential components they feel they do best in unit/ learning experience design. Have them share with a partner and celebrate together with the whole staff. Finish with them identifying one element that can help them expand and enhance their learning experiences for future units of study.

Strategy #3: Lead a Discussion Around ‘Future Skills’ and Connect to Current Learning Experiences

The above video helps preface the top 10 skills identified by the World Economic Forum as being integral to future success. Have your staff first identify what they believe to be the top 10 skills. Next, continue the video and use the case study provided to inspire them around how these future skills can weave in naturally to project-based experiences. Ask them to connect with the skills they feel they already foster in their classrooms. Finally, help them expand their thinking by brainstorming learning experiences that can help them integrate the other skills. (Use the sample brainstorming activity from the video).

Do you have another idea for how to introduce project-based learning to staff? I would LOVE to hear it and share with more schools and edu-innovators I support.