Making Projects Real

Doing projects or work-based activities in the real world provides an authentic context for learning deeply.
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Earn Graduate Credit
Graduate-level credit is available for this micro-credential. You can apply for credit through one of our university partners after successfully completing the micro-credential.
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About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Engaging in authentic, real-world projects provides invaluable opportunities for students to develop essential 21st-century learning, career, and civic skills that prepare them for future success.

Method Components

Students engage in real-world projects to encourage engagement and learning as defined by the factors for real-world project success. Projects can be conducted individually, in small groups, or in whole-group instruction.

Factors in real-world project success

  • Real-world challenge - A question, problem, issue, or perspective that students care about and that people in the world are working on as part of their career or profession
  • Doing professional work - Opportunities to learn how to do what professionals do in the field related to the learning challenge
  • Mentors and experts - Access to professionals who work on the challenge as part of their job or career, have expert skills and knowledge, and are willing to work with students over time as mentors to support their learning
  • Presenting and getting expert feedback - Opportunities for students to present what they've learned to an audience that includes experts on the project challenge and get constructive feedback

Suggested preparation

  • Students think of a real-world project (community service, action research, internship, apprenticeship, or similar) they'd like to do and three things they think they would learn from doing the project.

Suggested review

  • Students or teams review, reflect on, and summarize their evaluations of:
    • The project results, the quality and usefulness of what was produced in the project
    • The individual and group learning outcomes, what skills, understandings, and mindsets were learned during the project
    • The team project processes, how well the team worked together through all the project stages

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

Learning from real-world experiences is a powerful way to develop skills, understandings, and mindsets that prepare students for success in learning, for jobs and careers, and for active civic engagement; service learning, real-world research, internships and apprenticeships, and entrepreneurship projects are all examples of learning experiences that develop real-world learning competencies.


Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

Following are the items you must submit to earn this micro-credential and the criteria by which they will be evaluated. To earn this micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1, 3, and 4 and a “Yes” for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview questions

(200-word limit for each response)

  • Activity Description: What kind of project activities did you and your students engage in to become more proficient in learning from real-world activities and projects? Please describe the learning activities and strategies you used.
  • Activity Evaluation: How do you know your students increased their proficiency by engaging in the Making Projects Real activities and what evidence did you collect that demonstrates these learning gains?

Part 2. Evidence/artifacts

Please submit work examples from two students (such as links to writing, audio, images, video, or other media) that demonstrate progress toward the Making Projects Real competency, including items such as links to online project examples the students resonated with, examples of work done through the stages of the project cycle, presentations and evaluations on the results of the project work, and other items.

Part 3. Student reflections

For the two students whose work examples were included above, submit student-created reflections on their experience of the Making Projects Real activities. Use the following questions as a guide (200-word limit for each reflection):

  • How did the real-world project activities help you plan and complete a successful real-world project that built your skills, knowledge, and mindsets?
  • How did the real-world project strategies change your views on how you can use other real-world projects to motivate your learning in the future?

Part 4. Teacher reflection

Provide a reflection on what you learned, using the following questions as a guide (200-word limit):

  • What was the impact of engaging your students in the Making Projects Real activity?
  • How will experiencing these project activities shape your daily teaching practice in the future?

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
Requirements for Making Projects Real
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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