What Is Challenge Based Learning (CBL)? | Manaarah

  • September 27, 2021
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Challenge-based learning was created with the objective of replacing pens with iPads, worksheets with real-world issues, and grades with social development. This relatively new method of learning has acquired a lot of traction in a number of educational institutions.

Keep reading to know more about Challenge-based learning CBL and how you can apply it in your class!

Challenge Based Learning Definition


Challenge-based learning is an educational technique that actively involves students in a setting that is genuine, relevant, and linked to their surroundings. The basic tenet of CBL is that learning is motivated by difficult, open-ended issues with various answers.
It gives a practical and efficient framework for learning while addressing real-world problems.
The framework fosters cooperation in order to develop significant ideas, ask probing questions, and identify, explore, and solve problems.
The CBL curriculum assists students in gaining in-depth topic knowledge and developing the abilities required to survive in an ever-changing environment.

This style of learning is entirely student-driven, with very little instructor intervention. Students are motivated by Challenge-based learning ideas because they provide genuine learning experiences that allow them to meaningfully create concepts in contexts that entail realistic issues and relevant projects.

Teachers do not prescribe the learning activities or specify the specific learning goals of students from the beginning. Students, on the other hand, create their own challenges and gain the information and skills required to overcome these difficulties.

What is The CBL Process?

According to Apple’s Challenge-based learning a Classroom Guide, CBL begins with a big idea and cascades to the following: 

  1. The Essential Question 
  2. The Challenge  
  3. Guiding Questions  
  4. Activities 
  5. CBL Resources
  6. Determining And Articulating The Solution
  7. Taking Action By Implementing The Solution
  8. Assessment
  9. Publishing The Solution And Sharing It With The World

Reflection and informed evaluations are essential components of the process at all stages because they reinforce learning and prepare students for what comes next.

Challenge Based Learning Framework

The Challenge-based learning framework consists of three main phases. Each phase of these three prepares the students for the next one. These phases are:

(1) Engage 

Before beginning work on a project, students observe an abstract large concept and transform it into a tangible and achievable problem.
This is often done by all participants; instructors, students, and external partners all collaborate to develop key questions to be answered in the next phase.

(2) Investigate 

This is the stage of research. Students are required to undertake research in order to provide the groundwork for practical and long-term solutions to the problem they worked on previously. Simulations, trials, projects, written assignments, research, and games are some of the activities that may be included in the investigation process.

(3) Act 

When students design evidence-based solutions, they apply them with a real-world audience, and then the results are assessed.
This is the stage at which the students create a rough draft of their solutions and refine it.
The team then creates a prototype and tests it. During this design cycle, new guiding questions frequently arise,
which may easily lead to more study, reverting to phase two.
These stages may contain substages within them where students are required to do more investigation on the subject and, if necessary, a return to a previous step or, in certain cases, a previous phase.

Challenge Based Learning Template

According to Apple’s model of process and framework, the challenge-based learning template can look like this:


Using this template with your student can allow you to perform CBL in the classroom with no problems at all.

Thinking of having a custom-made template? Contact Manaarah’s team and enjoy our service of creating classroom solutions and CBL templates.

Challenge Based Learning Examples

As simple challenge-based learning examples, the whole classroom collaborates to solve the problem of global warming.

The teacher announces groups and the whole class starts the work.
First, they address the big problem which is global warming and its consequences.
The whole class should work together to define Essential Questions that they’re going to investigate shortly.
The Essential Questions should then be turned into actionable concrete challenges for them to find answers to.
The investigation phase starts with thorough research on the questions they came up with to gain,
the knowledge needed to assess and solve the challenge.
The teams then utilize their newly acquired and shared knowledge to develop,
and prototype new solutions in two separate steps: Solution Concepts,
in which the learners create the first copy of their solutions, and Solution Development, in which the team creates and tests a prototype.
In this design cycle often new guiding questions arise, so maybe further work is needed. The last step is to write a review on the subject that contains the answers the class came up with and discuss it with each other.

Who Created Challenge-Based Learning?

Apple Inc. created challenge-based learning. The challenge-based learning framework arose from Apple, Inc.’s 2008 “Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow, Today” initiative, which sought to uncover the key design elements of a 21st-century learning environment.
The first concept was detailed in a white paper issued by Apple, Inc. in 2008. Since then, instructors and schools all around the globe have used the framework to improve teaching and learning while giving students the opportunity to make an immediate difference in their communities.
A comprehensive study of challenge-based learning in classroom practice was released in 2009 by the New Media Consortium.

Why Challenge-Based Learning?

So, why challenge-based learning? Challenge-based learning has been shown to be helpful in developing students’ intellectual capacities. When confronted with a challenge, effective groups and people draw on their expertise, mobilize internal and external resources, devise a strategy, and press on to discover the best answer.

Experimentation, failure, and success are all part of the process, as are the repercussions of one’s actions. By incorporating Challenges into learning environments, students experience qualities that are sometimes lacking in classrooms such as urgency, passion, and ownership.

What Tools Can Schools Provide For Challenge-Based Learning?

The tools any school can provide for challenge-based learning depend on school resources and the level of students who are going to participate in this approach. 

Challenge-based learning elementary schools usually tailor the material and ideas for the level of their students to allow them to learn in a comfortable environment, so should other levels.

The ultimate CBL user guide is the most critical tool that schools should give. The Challenge Based Learning user guide is intended for anybody such as students, teachers, parents, administrators, and members of the community. 

Basically, it should be available for whoever wants to create learning communities centered on recognizing Challenges and implementing meaningful and sustainable solutions. The guide includes all the tools and resources any educational institution can benefit from.

What Is The Difference Between Problem-based Learning And Challenge Based Learning?

This makes challenge-based learning a natural extension of problem-based learning. There are no major differences between the two styles since both of them rely on real-life problems and solutions. However, there are some minor differences.

PBL is interdisciplinary learning, while CBL is, on the other hand, multidisciplinary learning. CBL requires research and written assignments, while PBL relies solely on brainstorming and debriefing sessions within the classroom.

How can I be sure my students will learn what they need through Challenge Based Learning?

The Implementation research projects found every teacher observed that students had mastered the content well beyond expectations. Many felt that the depth of student learning was remarkable, in fact, much greater than anticipated.

(1) Students have flexible knowledge,
(2) Students have effective problem-solving skills.
(3) Students have SDL skills.
(4) Students have effective collaboration skills, and
(5) Students have intrinsic motivation.
(6) students learn through the experience of solving problems,
(7) Students can learn both content and thinking strategies. Problem-based learning (PBL) is an instructional method in which students learn through facilitated problem-solving. In PBL,
(8) student learning centers on a complex problem that does not have a single correct answer.
(9) Students work in collaborative groups to identify what they need to learn in order to solve a problem.
(10) Challenge Based Learning lends itself to content mastery.
(11) Students engaged with the content worked harder than expected and demonstrated critical thinking and collaboration skills.
(12) Students engage in self-directed learning and then apply their new knowledge to the problem and reflect on what they learned and the effectiveness of the strategies employed.

What is the relationship between CBL and PBL?

Case-based learning, or (CBL), is very similar to  Problem-based learning or (PBL) but focuses on specific patient cases to identify learning objectives. It is also taught using small groups with a tutor to guide group discussions. Many students like this approach are it goes hand in hand with cases seen in students’ clinical placements.
and over time the differences have decreased as both approaches have learned from each other.
Initially, a significant difference was the origin of the project and the role of the teacher. The original project-based approach had the teacher identifying the project idea, doing a majority of the preparation work, and then managing a series of events that would lead to a product.
Challenge Based Learning, on the other hand, starts with the teacher and student as partners who plan and implement the journey together. With the new Gold Standard PBL, this gap has narrowed. If the goals are to
1- engage all learners.
2-share responsibility.
3- address real needs in the community while deepening subject area knowledge.

What is the relationship between CBL and blended learning?

Blended learning is a method of teaching that integrates technology and digital media with traditional instructor-led classroom activities,
Blended learning combines traditional and online learning. This approach integrates especially well with Challenge Based Learning during the Investigation phase and supports efforts to expand learning beyond the four walls of the classroom.
Online resources can serve as a rich source for Guiding Activities and Resources. With the Guiding Questions providing structure, Learners can use online educational resources to learn about the Challenge and build a foundation for their Solution.

Do you want a CBL Challenge Based Learning to plan for your educational institutions? Manaarah is your place to go! Get in touch with our team and visit the website to know more about this, and many other, services that can improve your overall learning and teaching experience.

Manaarah has an experienced team of instructional designers who have designed and built Manaarah to help schools, universities, and companies with their learning and training programs.
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We develop and design courses, curriculum education, textbooks, educational games, and other educational materials for your schools. Companies count on Manaarah for comprehensive and engaging training and interactive user guide of your company.

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