Is It Still PBL Without Authentic Audience?
Project Based Learning is when students are doing work that simulates work that could occur in the real world. It has a driving question that is purpose driven and has an audience outside the classroom. Since by definition PBL has an outside audience that students share with, I believe without it, you lose a critical component that drives the engagement. PBL audience gives students purpose. Their work is for sharing, teaching, calling to action, celebrating, seeking expert feedback, etc. You might find the perfect audience that helps ignite the process, or you might end up just sharing with your school and or parents. Keep in mind that school and parents are still authentic audiences as this IS real world to your students. Other options include posting to social media such as sharing to YouTube or Twitter.
Outside audiences are often thrilled to be asked to participate and can offer additional perspectives and may ask questions that require students to defend their work. The real world does not give participation trophies to all. Learning how to produce something worth praising by outsiders can be challenging but far more rewarding. Since outside audiences do not give scores, the student is also interested in the feedback, not a score.
PBL has Essential Elements that define what will make a great experience for the student and result in an outcome that is designed to be shared. The audience who is going to receive the cumulation of the hard work is an important consideration and plays a key role. Most important creating a final product increases work quality as students will be more inclined to do their best.
Everette, M. (2015, March 11). 8 Essential Elements of Project Based Learning. In Scholastic. Retrieved June 30, 2017, from https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/blog-posts/meghan-everette/8-essential-elements-project-based-learning/
Lamar, J. (2015, April 21). Gold Standard PBL: Essential Project Design Elements.PBL Blog. Retrieved June 30, 2017, from http://www.bie.org/blog/gold_standard_pbl_essential_project_design_elements