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Project-Based Learning: PBL Overview for Basic Studies

Information about various types of Problem-Based Learning and Project-Based Learning

RTC Basic Studies: Moving toward Problem-Based Learning

The RTC Basic Studies Department is in the process of reinventing itself in a major way - moving toward a structure that will be more student-focused with each student's coursework being tailored to their goals and skills: 

  • The new English Language Acquisition (ELA) Foundations program will consist of three divisions:  1) Basic ELA (basic literacy), 2) ELA Beginning Foundations and 3) ELA Intermediate Foundations.
  • The High School Equivalency (HSE) program will serve students needing a a high school diploma or GED and will have various tracks (ELA, STEM and Bilingual Spanish/English).
  • The College & Career Readiness (CCR) program will focus on short hybrid courses to support students preparing for the next steps in their college pathway.

The Department is also redesigning its curriculum to use more student-centered approaches, using problem-based learning (PBL).
Download and view the PowerPoint presentation below for more info about the changes.

One of the driving factors for the changes is the Federal College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) prepared by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education in 2013.  The standards can be found at 

Redesigning Adult Basic Education for Student Success

RTC Basic Studies Program Outcomes

To fulfill responsibilities and achieve their personal, educational, and employment goals as family and community members, workers, and lifelong learners, adults:

  • Read with understanding
  • Convey ideas in writing
  • Use math to problem solve
  • Speak so others can understand
  • Listen actively
  • Utilize communication and information technology
  • Find, evaluate and use information to gain knowledge and solve problems


Read with understanding

  • Determine the reading purpose.
  • Select reading strategies appropriate to the purpose.
  • Monitor comprehension and adjust reading strategies.
  • Analyze the information and reflect on its underlying meaning.
  • Integrate it with prior knowledge to address reading purpose.


Convey ideas in writing

  • Determine the purpose for communicating.
  • Organize and present information to serve the purpose.
  • Pay attention to conventions of English language usage, including grammar, spelling, and sentence structure, to minimize barriers to reader’s comprehension.
  • Seek feedback and revise to enhance the effectiveness of the communication.


Use math to problem solve

  • Understand, interpret, and work with pictures, numbers, and symbolic information.
  • Apply knowledge of mathematical concepts and procedures to figure out how to answer a question, solve a problem, make a prediction, or carry out a task that has a mathematical dimension.
  • Define and select data to be used in solving the problem.
  • Determine the degree of precision required by the situation.
  • Solve problems using appropriate quantitative procedures and verify that the results are reasonable.
  • Communicate results using a variety of mathematical representations, including graphs, charts, tables and algebraic models.


Speak so others can understand

  • Determine the purpose for speaking.
  • Organize information to effectively serve the purpose, context, and listener.
  • Convey information, paying attention to the conventions of oral English communication, including grammar, word choice, pronunciation, register, pace, and gesture in order to minimize barriers to listener’s comprehension.
  • Monitor whether the speaking purpose has been met and adjust strategies as needed.


Listen actively

  • Determine the purpose for listening.
  • Focus attention and choose listening strategies appropriate to the purpose.
  • Monitor comprehension, adjusting listening strategies as needed.
  • Analyze the content and reflect on the underlying meanings.
  • Integrate new information with prior knowledge to address the listening purpose.


Utilize communication and information technology

  • Determine the purpose for using communication and information technology.
  • Select the technology tools and resources to serve the purpose.
  • Apply technological knowledge, skills, and strategies to use the tools to locate, process, or communicate information.
  • Monitor personal ability and the effectiveness of the tools in achieving the purpose, and if needed, use strategies to overcome barriers to achieving goals.


Find, evaluate and use information to gain knowledge and solve problems

  • Plan
    • Understand and define the problem.
    • Identify the information needed to solve the problem.
    • Seek and identify possible sources; select the appropriate sources to meet needs.
  • Do
    • Locate the sources and the information within those sources.
    • Evaluate and select the most useful information.
    • Organize, analyze, and synthesize the information to solve the problem.
  • Review
    • Reflect on the result and the process used to achieve it.
  • Use information in an ethical and legal manner.

RTC Basic Studies Department - Program Outcomes