User Generated Education

Education as it should be – passion-based.

PBL: Project, Passion, Play Based Learning

with 5 comments

Effective and progressive educators understand and attempt to implement PBL strategies and practices within their learning settings.  What is PBL?  Project-Based Learning? Passion-Based Learning?  Play-Based Learning?  I contend that education, not necessarily schooling, when done “right” is all of these.  How can project-based learning not include elements of passion and play?  Doesn’t play connect one to his or her passions?  Shouldn’t passion-based learning include the development of playful projects?

Project Based Learning

Project Based Learning is an instructional approach built upon authentic learning activities that engage student interest and motivation. These activities are designed to answer a question or solve a problem and generally reflect the types of learning and work people do in the everyday world outside the classroom. (

Here is a curated Scoop.It of Project-Based Learning Resources:

Passion-Based Learning

Today knowledge is everywhere – it’s easily accessible. With a couple clicks of the button, I can find content beyond my ability to absorb it in a lifetime. As a young person today, I can learn anything I want to learn at any time I want to learn it. Therefore, instead of focusing so much of our effort on the content, we really need to focus on helping them learn. We must help students understand how to synthesize and analyze and to create – to think deeply and become passionate learners.

And it’s going to be a different way of thinking when I put the learner first. Instead of me having all these preconceived ideas of what they should doing, saying and producing, I have to be open to what I find in each student. I have to discover – and help each student discover – their talents and interests and create a learning environment where they can use those gifts and passions to learn from a position of strength. Passion-based learning in the 21st century: An interview with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach

Some resources and blog posts about Passion-Based Learning:

Play-Based Learning

The beauty of a play-based curriculum is that very young children can routinely observe and learn from others’ emotions and experiences. Through play, children learn to take turns, delay gratification, negotiate conflicts, solve problems, share goals, acquire flexibility, and live with disappointment. By allowing children to imagine walking in another person’s shoes, imaginative play also seeds the development of empathy, a key ingredient for intellectual and social-emotional success. from CNN’s Want to get your kids into college? Let them play

Play and its related benefits are not just for children. Stuart Brown discusses Why Play is Important, No Matter Your Age is his TED talk.


Caine and his Arcade have been given a lot of attention and press lately.  Rightfully so.  It is a great example of PBL – Project, Passion, Play Based Learning.  I discuss it in more depth in 9 Year Old Boy’s Arcade Creation: An Example of Passion-Based Learning.

Integrating projects, passions, and play into education in this era of learning has become a moral imperative, in my perspective.  We often ask students to spend 8 or more hours of their day in the pursuit of education.  Through my experiences as a student, I feel that the education system stole time in my life making me do things for which I had no interest, desire, nor use.  As such, I am in a lifelong quest not to do the same to the children who are participating in our current systems.

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

May 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm

5 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. […] PBL: Project Passion Play Based Learning from User Generated Education – So much information packed into this blog post! I found having such a variety of resources on this topic so readily available in one place to be super helpful. It was like a crash course on PBL! Wonderful examples of PBL shared too. I saw Caine’s Arcade not too long ago and shared the video on Facebook. I think it is worthy of a second share! […]

    • I was so thankful to find in your blog a link for PBL ideas. Our school is moving toward this model and honestly, as an ALG II teacher, I was at a loss for finding meaningful – not time filling – activities. I haven’t had time to go through that link yet. From the outlook, it’s gonna take a quiet morning and a big cup of joe to plough through all the good information. Thanks for sharing!!!


      June 27, 2012 at 10:49 pm

  2. I found all of this information to be amazing! I love the PBL presentation and Caine’s Arcade brought a tear to my eye and a huge smile to my face!!

    Elizabeth Turner

    June 19, 2012 at 8:23 pm

  3. […] you’re interested in learning more about passion-based learning, Jackie Gerstein has a great blog post. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. D. Teuber […]

  4. […] Formal education often takes the play out of education and many teachers teach the way they were taught. Apps have the potential to change all this and individualize learning for students. Magic! Experiential learning is what really makes learning stick. Cooperative learning is powerful and many app developers are seeing that the single player game can easily be modified to allow for group play. The traditional school model is driving content, apps have the built in options to be project based. “Make something” and bring out what Jackie Gerstein calls “Education as it should be: passion-based.” […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: