The Top Three PBL Products –
PBL Part 7

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Finished Product

The project-based learning experience culminates in a finished product. Students should be ready to report on the solution to the problem. But wait, there’s more! What will students produce and how will it be reported? Just as with any long standing research project, the amount of effort students put into the PBL activity should generate a high level of competence, confidence, and excitement! Your students should feel ready and able to talk openly about what they learned. With this excitement, students should prepare a professional multimedia presentation and be able to present their information to school officials, community leaders, industry professionals, and peers.

Adults are quite familiar with presentations. However, just hearing the word makes them run. Many are all too familiar with the phrase “death by PowerPoint”. This phrase is widespread because many adults, even professional speakers, lack the insight into how to use multimedia tools effectively. A poorly executed talk can bring an audience to tears. However, an organized talk, aligned with powerful multimedia tools, creates a whole different experience. A speaker who is both knowledgeable and able to deliver the content can now empower and energize an audience because the content syncs with the presentation! It is our job to coach our students to rise to this level. We want to empower them to give the best report in a creative and thoughtful manner.


“…building of two new shelters in his neighborhood.”

After learning about the number of homeless people in his neighborhood, Timmy was anxious to solve the problem. With helpful guidance from his teacher, and a high level of support from his parents, Timmy had many thought-provoking conversations with politicians, business owners, and social work and mental health professionals in his area. He learned that the problem was being addressed by these professionals. However, he also learned that there was not enough community awareness and support for this problem. Additionally, he learned that there were too few housing situations that could support the vast number of homeless people in the city. From this information, Timmy devoted his time and energy to raise the money, and community support, to build homes for these individuals and families.

For the final product, Timmy agonized long and hard about how he wanted to present his information to his audience. He wanted to give some sort of speech but felt overwhelmed by the thought of it. However, he felt comfortable at the shelter where he volunteered on Saturdays. Timmy thought the best place to talk about his proposed solution to the problem would be the shelter. To make this happen, he organized a day and time that would allow for most of the industry professionals involved to meet at the shelter during the week. With this done, he prepared a short speech using index cards. He also held on to two documents that he would share with his audience at the appropriate time.

On the day of his speech, Timmy talked only briefly from the make-shift stage at the shelter. He was too excited to read directly from his notes. Nonetheless, he had a good idea of what he wanted to say. Most importantly, he wanted to share the budget report and the legal permission documents that would allow for the building of two new shelters in his neighborhood.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Image by Tumisu from Pixabay


“As a result of everyone’s input, her final product for the PBL activity was going to be a live podcast.

In short, Jessica loved working on her project. It focused on entrepreneurship. Although the idea of going to college weighed heavily on her mind, she thought that she could duplicate her father’s success if she focused hard enough. She could always go to college if her business failed. But she was not about to let that happen. She also thought that – maybe – attending a few courses at the community college would help her keep her brain focused. She was good at school. She was good at a lot of things. But the thought of being a business owner – an entrepreneur – was what motivated her to get out of bed most mornings! Now that she had the opportunity to spend school time, and her free time, to pursue this effort, she was going to make the most of it!

When her teacher asked her about the final product – the big reveal – Jessica considered her options carefully. She thought that a powerful presentation at school or local business incubator would be a good idea. She also considered giving a talk at the local Chamber of Commerce. Her teacher suggested a possible TEDx talk at the local community college. All of these were great ideas. They would give her tremendous exposure. However, she was gaining a lot of online publicity. Her Linked posts received attention. Her YouTube channel received a lot of views. Her online subscribers loved her weekly vlogs, and they weighed in on the topic. As a result of everyone’s input, her final product for the PBL activity was going to be a live podcast.


…the community became aware of the negative impact of the construction.”

Tammy was faced with a personal problem when it came to deciding how to present her solution to her neighborhood’s problem. She was an introvert, and spent more time talking to the trees and the animals than she did with people. Yes, she had a small group of close friends. But most of her time was spent studying, exploring, and note-taking. She was invested in solving the problems that she saw. Her teacher, and her parents, reminded her that she could make all the great discoveries in the world, but if she did not learn how to communicate those discoveries to the world, then no one would know about them.

How can an introvert conduct a good presentation and convey information in a professional and respectable manner?

Tammy desperately wanted to talk about how the residential and commercial building projects in her neighborhood were destroying the ecosystem. Animals were losing ground – literally and figuratively – to the people in her area. To understand her presentation options better, she had a heart-to-heart conversation with her teachers, parents, and a scientist from the community college. By the end of the conversation, she had decided to do something that would meet all the criteria for this project’s final product. She would create a video blog – a vlog – in which she would discuss what she learned. With the help of a local videographer from the community college, she created various pieces of footage. The video lasted nine minutes and showed Tammy talking with community leaders and scientists. It also showed how her neighborhood and the local wildlife were impacted. Although no immediate changes could be made, the community became aware of the negative impact of the construction. To date, her video has had a substantial view history from across the globe.

Image by Sanu A S from Pixabay
Image by DarkmoonArt_de from Pixabay


“students age 6 to 16 see the world through the computer…”

I do not think the final product always needs to be public. Of course, some PBL thought leaders disagree with me, and that’s fine. Yes, having community leaders, industry professionals, and a matrix of other stakeholders at the final product demonstration is fun and exciting. But not every student is ready for that, and many students have the basic fear of public speaking. Why add to that discomfort? The goal is to present options to students and allow them to choose the best product based on their comfort level.

Making an impact is part of the PBL experience. Making an impact for change is even more challenging. With that said, let’s look at some of the reasons why thought leaders are inclined to push for a public product at the end of the PBL experience.

Adds motivation for students to give their best effort.
Gives students a broader voice to make a bigger impact.
Gives students a better perspective of the real world.
Improves public relations with the local community.
Leverages collaboration with industry professionals and subject matter experts.


“..Being allowed to express ourselves is the first step…”

Putting PBL into action.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

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