The Project Management Institute Educational Foundation, the non-profit arm of the global membership organization for project managers, is inviting PMs to participate in a sizable initiative: transforming education to help schools implement project-based learning.

The foundation recently gave a grant to an education non-profit, Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21), which develops resources to guide schools in adopting 21st century learning and instructional practices. The funding helped P21 develop a set of free, online resources to teach the practices of project management to educators.

Project management and education transformation toolkit screenshot

The “toolkit” as it’s called, is intended “to bring project management into community conversations about school transformation,” the site explained. It provides tools, definitions and explanations of unfamiliar subjects, and links to other resources that will help project managers, other professionals and existing stakeholders “to better understand their communities, connect to existing dialogues and reform efforts, and navigate the complex world of education.”

The toolkit also provides educator resources, including links to projects that can be used in the classroom and to successful programs already running in schools and districts.

Project-based learning is a teaching method in which students build their knowledge and skills by immersing themselves into a complex problem or challenge — an “inquiry” — using project management techniques. As a recent article on the P21 website noted, a project in a history class might ask students to “investigate how slavery impacts the lives of black citizens in their towns.” Answering that inquiry would require multiple kinds of the “21st century” activities encompassing collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking.

In a statement about the toolkit project Michael DePrisco, who heads up academic and educational programs for PMI, said that “The skills that young people need to be successful in the 21st century world of work are unquestionably inherent to project management… We understand the value that project-based learning adds to the classroom, and equipping teachers and students with project management skills better ensures that they know how to expertly manage those projects.”

The toolkit is freely available online.