I'm surprised at how often I still get asked if Project-Based Learning (PBL) is supported by research (I guess this very old approach is still new to many folks…). The good news is that there is strong evidence that when project-based learning is done right, there are positive outcomes for the learners, as these quotes from research summaries point out:
“A growing body of academic research supports the use of project-based learning in schools as a way to engage students, cut absenteeism, boost cooperative learning skills, and improve test scores. Those benefits are enhanced when technology is used in a meaningful way in the projects.” (The whole research summary)
“Studies have proven that when implemented well, project-based learning (PBL) can increase retention of content and improve students' attitudes towards learning, among other benefits.” (The whole research summary)
“Overall, the research on Project-based Learning (PBL) reports positive outcomes related to student learning in the areas of content knowledge, collaborative skills, engagement and motivation, and critical thinking and problem-solving skills.” (The whole research summary)
And here is additional research on PBL.