Location: United States |  Change Location
Male flipping through Corwin book

Hands-on, Practical Guidance for Educators

From math, literacy, equity, multilingual learners, and SEL, to assessment, school counseling, and education leadership, our books are research-based and authored by experts on topics most relevant to what educators are facing today.



Rigorous PBL by Design

Three Shifts for Developing Confident and Competent Learners
By: Michael McDowell

Foreword by John Hattie
Afterword by Suzie Boss

Find out how to make three shifts essential to improving PBL’s overall effect by helping students discover, deepen, then apply their learning to a world beyond them.

Full description

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781506359021
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Series: Corwin Teaching Essentials
  • Year: 2017
  • Page Count: 208
  • Publication date: March 16, 2017

Price: $39.95

Price: $39.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.



Thoughtful Design Guide for Maximum PBL Impact

When problem- and project-based learning (PBL) is designed and delivered effectively, it has the potential to create confident and competent learners. Educators must know how to thoughtfully design projects that move students from surface to deep and transfer learning.

Bridge the gap between expected PBL success and real-life classroom implementation by diving deep into the design for new and existing projects. Through in-depth examples, discover how to make three shifts essential to improving PBL’s overall effect:

  • Clarity: Students should be clear on what they are expected to learn, where they are in the process, and what next steps they need to take to get there
  • Challenge: Help students move from surface to deep and transfer learning
  • Culture: Empower them to use that knowledge to make a difference in their life and the lives of others

Be the key to help students discover, deepen, and apply their learning to a world beyond them.

“This is an outstanding resource for educators, providing a practical framework for creating effective and impactful PBL experiences. We are committed to strengthening our PBL practices and we look forward to adding this valuable resource to our professional reference library.”
Rachel Bergren, MSc, Director, Education and Guest Experience
The Marine Mammal Center

"Michael McDowells book provides powerful insights to ensure the conditions essential for PBL are present for increased impact on student learning. This magnificent book provides educators with practical ways to design authentic and 'ever-lasting' learning."
Sarah Martin, Principal
Stonefields School, New Zealand

Key features

Going Deeper With PBL Design includes:

  • In-depth examples of how to re-tool existing PBL projects for maximum impact on student learning
  • An appendix of additional examples to help teachers getting started with PBL
  • How to use PBL to address surface, deep, and transfer learning outcomes
  • How to use PBL to increase students' confidence in their learning
  • Questions to help teachers reflect on their lessons and classroom culture
  • Next steps and activity prompts to use in the classroom


Michael McDowell photo

Michael McDowell

Michael McDowell, EdD was a public school educator for eighteen years serving in the roles of classroom teacher, academic and athletic coach, school principal, assistant superintendent of personnel and instruction, and superintendent. During his tenure as a superintendent, his school district received state and national accolades including the National Blue Ribbon Award which recognized their work for student performance and mental health and well-being in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic by the U.S. Department of Education.

Dr. McDowell serves on numerous boards, served as a college professor, and worked for non-profit organizations to enhance student learning around the world. Over the course of his career, Dr. McDowell has authored bestselling books, created professional learning programs and workbooks, provided keynotes and workshops, and provided practical tools and resources for thousands of teachers and leaders on almost every continent around the world. A prolific author and consultant, Dr. McDowell is recognized as one of the leading authorities on integrating innovative and impactful practices into schools. Offering keynotes and executive coaching to heads of school around the world, he partners with educational leaders to implement high leverage strategies that will enhance teaching and learning in classrooms, schools, and systems.
Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Foreword by John Hattie


Chapter 1. Focusing on Confidence and Competence in Learning

Confident and Competent Students at Work: Sir Francis Drake High School

Confidence in Learning Attributes

Competence in Learning Levels: Surface, Deep, and Transfer

PBL as a Vehicle to Build Confidence and Competence in Learning

Chapter 2. Designing PBL for Student Confidence and Competence

Make PBL Effective

Advancing PBL by Design

Chapter 3. Design Shift I: Clarity—Understanding Expectations of Learning Upfront

Clear Expectations Motivate Learning

Where Am I Going in My Learning?

Steps for Determining Clear Learning Intentions and Success Criteria in Project Design

Chapter 4. Design Shift II: Challenge—Structuring and Sequencing Learning Through Projects

Designing for Challenge and Intervention

Step 1 (Plan A): Align Student Activities and Teaching Actions According to Surface, Deep, and Transfer Expectations

Step 2 (Plan B): Structure Inquiry to Identify Student Performance and Provide Support That Aligns With the Learning Needs of Students

Chapter 5. Design Shift III: Culture—Knowing and Acting on Impact Collectively

Developing a Culture of Confidence

Chapter 6. Reflections on PBL Practice

Working Together for Impact

Retooling PBL to Serve as a Vehicle for Confidence and Competence

Afterword by Suzie Boss


Appendix A. Project Design Template

Appendix B. Sample Projects

Appendix C. PBL Design Shift and Key Elements Checklist

Appendix D. Recommended Texts for PBL Implementation






Price: $39.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.

Related Resources