The Training and Implementation of Project-Based Learning: A Phenomenological Study


Adrian Vega

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Educational Administration

Date of Award

Fall 2011


The state of public education in the first decade of the 21st century is at a crossroads. Unlike the challenges that have confronted public education in the past, public schools are faced with the possibility of becoming obsolete. With the rapid advances in technology, increased school choice via charter schools, home schooling, and virtual schools, parents have more options to choose from when educating their children. Additionally, students who attend school at the start of the 21st century are very different from those who have gone before them. This generation of students is the first to have grown up completely immersed in technology. They do not know a world without electronic mobile devices, electronic social networks, and Web 2.0 tools. However, in many instances the schools these students attend often stifle and hinder this aspect of their lives, even though the global community and workforce require the very skills that using this type of technology provides. Therefore, an instructional approach that fosters and cultivates 21st-century skills is needed, such as project-based learning (PBL). Consequently, the purpose of this phenomenological study was to chronicle and analyze the experience of 15 middle school campus leaders who have chosen to implement PBL on their campuses. In doing so, results from this study may assist other campus leaders and school districts who have chosen to implement PBL. Results from this research yielded 5 overarching themes: (a) leaders had a need for autonomy in PBL implementation, (b) traditional scheduling and school organization were in need of redesign, (c) principals realized teachers needed support as they redesigned instructional methods to incorporate process teaching, (d) principals sought a dedicated administrator assigned to the oversight and implementation of PBL, and (e) PBL will be received differently by different people.


Casey Brown

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Administration and Supervision