How to Apply Performance Based Learning to Instruction


How to Apply Performance Based Learning to Instruction

It’s time for students to realize that they can take control of their own learning. No longer must they be spoon fed every step of the way by their teachers before they can successfully complete a particular assignment.

Instead, students may receive only a general idea about a particular assignment and then be released into their own custody to complete it. This type performance based learning (PBL) is appropriate for all students—kindergarten to twelfth grade, yet students in high school—ninth to twelfth grade—might benefit most from PBL since high school students have the gradual cognitive level of maturity to think critically about a lesson more than students in lower grades.

What is Performance Based Learning?

According to education research, “Performance based learning is an approach to teaching and learning that emphasizes students being able to perform specific skills as a result of instruction.”

In other words, students must be able to articulate or illustrate what they have learned about a particular topic and express how they may use their learning to help themselves and / or their community at large when they apply the method of Problem Based Learning.

To state it pictorially, students must be the doctor of the knowledge they have gained and spread the antidote they used to a larger population in order to help ameliorate the cause(s) at hand. “In this framework, students demonstrate the ability to use the knowledge, rather than to know only the information.” (Operations Curriculum and Assessment).

How to Prepare Students for Performance Based Learning

For problem based learning to occur, students must believe that they can locate answers to their problems.

In a technological world, no reason exists for students to stumble through an independent learning process.

To help students explore on their own, teachers may need to build students’ self-confidence by presenting a motivation instructional platform (Cynthia Mathews on Curriculum and Instruction).

Building students’ self-confidence is an important component to almost everything they do, especially in aiding their academic performance.

Several instructional styles are available to help students with the process of gaining confidence, yet one of the easiest ways to expose students to confidence is by imparting direct instruction per the topic.

Direct instruction, pertaining to performance based learning, entails exposing students to several methods of completing a lesson. Teachers may introduce the meaning of self-confidence and then instruct students to explore images of “confidence” so that students will be able to determine the appearance of confidence.

Keeping aligned with performance based learning, students may research the why’s and how’s of confidence and reflect upon their learning of the topic.

Additionally, the instruction for students to analyze quotes based on building their confidence will help complement students’ knowledge of ‘confidence.’

Students may subsequently discuss how they can apply confidence to enhance their personal lives. A motivation instructional format should precede any higher order thinking project to facilitate student endurance for performance based learning.

What are Tasks for Performance Based Instruction?

The use of “creativity” is the overall task for initiating a performance based learning project. Being creative helps students to become problem solvers and helps them to discern ideas differently than ideas of other individuals without condemning others’ plausible perspectives.

The idea is for students to learn about an unknown task and then to demonstrate what is understood about the task.

Creativity can help with the demonstration since students will be able to express knowledge in their own way, which can be expressed through graphs and charts, through artistic designs, through writing, through rapping, through narratives. Students possess ownership of their own learning through exploring.

How Teachers can Assess Students’ Problem-Based Learning

The rubric for assessing student understanding through problem based learning should be flexible.

One type assessment might be insufficient for creative instruction and learning. Therefore, to help with student assessments, students may once again take charge of their own learning.

For examples, (1) through research, students may create a test and answer key for teacher grading; by generating their own tests and answers, students may reinforce their learning and take control of building their confidence.

(2) Students may stand in front of their peers to be evaluated. This idea should accompany clear instruction from the teacher on how to evaluate and rate peers in a complimentary and constructive manner.

This idea also exposes students to depth of knowledge, as they (evaluators) must thoroughly understand the student’s performance to express their evaluations of the student.

This style of assessment compels all students to innately strengthen their confidence and to deepen their levels of understanding of the topics they create for teachers to evaluate. Creativity and Constructive criticism are the keys to student growth.

Problem Based Learning (PBL) is enforced when students are able to execute what they have learned.

The goal of education should be to teach students how to think, not necessarily what to think. The method of Problem-Based-Learning can help in this manner.

Cynthia Mathews

Doctor of Curriculum and Instruction



Cynthia Mathews on Curriculum and Instruction

Education Research

Operations Curriculum and Assessment



Published by cynthiamathews

I'm an innovative spirit, one who seeks new and practical ways to learn about life. I enjoy exploring innovative styles to motivate people to persevere in a challenging world. Having a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Curriculum & Instruction, I am inspired to maintain a life long learning experience that will allow me to share my knowledge with others. My expertise includes detecting apathy in individuals and prescribing ways to motivate them to be their best. To initiate this endeavor, I create and conduct personal and professional development programs. I write briefs and pamphlets and instructional guides to inspire, and I speak--upon request--to those who need a reminder of their inner excellence. My blog's main focus is to document my research on motivation and curriculum instruction and to share with subscribers the understanding, the ideas, and the strategies that result from my research. I am a native of Alabama, a teacher, and an author. I look forward to learning with you.