Project-based Learning in EFL educational settings: A meta-analysis study in EFL/ESL writing


  • Bambang Yudi Cahyono Universitas Negeri Malang | Indonesia
  • Rika Irawati Universitas Negeri Malang | Indonesia
  • Suci Nugrah Amalia Universitas Negeri Malang | Indonesia
  • Luki Emiliya Hidayat Universitas Negeri Malang | Indonesia


EFL/ESL writing, effect size, meta-analysis, moderating variables, project-based learning


As project-based learning (PjBL) has become very popular in education over the past few years, this study conducted a comprehensive meta-analysis to synthesize the effectiveness of PjBL in EFL/ESL writing by examining 11 articles based on databases of Scopus and Google Scholar from 2013 to 2023. The result reveals that PjBL had a significant positive effect size in EFL/ESL writing. Moreover, the effect sizes of some moderating variables were analyzed, including educational levels, sample size, research design, intervention duration, and group size. It was found that the most important moderating variable that affects the effectiveness of PjBL in EFL/ESL writing is intervention duration. The significant overall effect of PjBL on ESL/EFL writing implies the need for educators to consider using PjBL in language teaching and learning. Meanwhile future researchers might consider applying other moderating variables such as research design, instructional strategies, and student characteristics, to identify the best practices for implementing PjBL in ESL/EFL writing.


*Abbasian, G. R., Ebrahimi, Y., & Bazaee, P. (2017). The effect of project-based learning on Iranian intermediate EFL learners’ paragraph writing skills. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research, 4(6), 254-271.

*Affandi, A., & Sukyadi, D. (2016). Project-based learning and problem-based learning for EFL students’ writing achievement at the tertiary level. Rangsit Journal of Educational Studies, 3(1), 23–40. doi: 10.14456/rjes.2016.2

*Aghayani, B., & Hajmohammadi, E. (2019). Project-based learning: Promoting EFL learners' writing skills. LLT Journal: A Journal on Language and Language Teaching, 22(1), 78–85.

Al-Wasy, B. Q. (2020). The effectiveness of integrating technology in EFL/ESL writing: A meta-analysis. Interactive Technology and Smart Education, 17(4), 435–454.

*Alotaibi, M. G. (2020). The effect of project-based learning model on persuasive writing skills of Saudi EFL secondary school students. English Language Teaching, 13(7), 19-26.

Amalia, S. N., Nurisma, R. A., Widiati, U., & Prihandoko, L. A. (2023). Learners' agency, beliefs, mindsets and teacher autonomy as predictors of willingness to communicate in online learning. TESL-EJ, 27(3).

Anis, M., & Anwar, C. (2020). Self-organized learning environment teaching strategy for ELT in Merdeka Belajar concept for high school students in Indonesia. JEES (Journal of English Educators Society), 5(2), 199–204.

Ardi, P., Amalia, S. N., Widiati, U., Walker, D., & Prihandoko, L. A. (2024). Writing enjoyment among EFL postgraduate students in Indonesia: The interplay between students’ writing self-efficacy and research literacy and teachers’ immediacy and clarity. LEARN Journal: Language Education and Acquisition Research Network, 17(1), 632–661.

Argawati, N. O., & Suryani, L. (2020). Project-based learning in teaching writing: The implementation and students' opinion. English Review: Journal of English Education, 8(2), 219–226.

Ariana, S. M. (2018). Some thoughts on writing skills. Journal of English Department, 1(1), 134–140.

*Asrul, N., Rajagukguk, S. F., Sitepu, V. O., Siregar, P. M., & Novri, A. (2021). The effect of project-based learning on students’ achievement in writing narrative text. journal of English language and education, 6(2), 103-109.

Balemen, N., & Özer Keskin, M. (2018). The effectiveness of project-based learning on science education: A meta-analysis search. International Online Journal of Education and Teaching (IOJET), 5(4), 849–865.

Barus, I. R. G., Simanjuntak, M. B., & Resmayasari, I. (2021). Reading literacies through EVIETA-based learning material: Students' perceptions (Study case taken from vocational school–IPB University). Journal of Advanced English Studies, 4(1), 15–20.

Bekiryazıcı, M. (2015). Teaching mixed-level classes with a Vygotskian perspective. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 186, 913–917.

Bertucci, A., Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., & Conte, S. (2010). The impact of size of cooperative learning groups on achievement, self-esteem and social support. Journal of General Psychology, 137(3), 256–272.

Borenstein, M., Hedges, L. V, Higgins, J. P. T., & Rothstein, H. R. (2021). Introduction to meta-analysis. John Wiley & Sons.

Brundiers, K., & Wiek, A. (2013). Do we teach what we preach? An international comparison of problem-and project-based learning courses in sustainability. Sustainability, 5(4), 1725–1746.

Budianto, L. (2017). Using project based learning to develop ESP students’ writing skill.

*Cahyaningrum, T., & Widyantoro, A. (2020). Effect of project-based learning and problem-based learning on the students’ writing achievement. LingTera, 7(1), 72-83.

Cahyono, B. Y., Ardi, P., Siwa, Y. N., Sari, R., & Gestanti, R. A. (2023). EFL teachers’ technological pedagogical knowledge (TPK) and ecological agency in responding to the differentiated learning policy in Indonesia. Journal of Research in Applied Linguistics, 14(2), 84-100.

Camacho, A. (2021). [Book review] Latif, M. M. M. A. (2021). Writing motivation research, measurement and pedagogy. Journal of Writing Research, 13(1), 193-206.

Chambers, J. D., Naci, H., Wouters, O. J., Pyo, J., Gunjal, S., Kennedy, I. R., ... & Neumann, P. J. (2015). An assessment of the methodological quality of published network meta-analyses: a systematic review. PloS one, 10(4), e0121715.

Chan, M. E., & Arvey, R. D. (2012). Meta-analysis and the development of knowledge. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 7(1), 79–92.

Chen, C.-H., & Yang, Y.-C. (2019). Revisiting the effects of project-based learning on students’ academic achievement: A meta-analysis investigating moderators. Educational Research Review, 26, 71–81.

Chen, J., Wang, M., Kirschner, P. A., & Tsai, C.-C. (2018). The role of collaboration, computer use, learning environments, and supporting strategies in CSCL: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 88(6), 799–843.

Chevalère, J., Cazenave, L., Berthon, M., Martinez, R., Mazenod, V., Borion, M.-C., Pailler, D., Rocher, N., Cadet, R., & Lenne, C. (2021). Computer-assisted instruction versus inquiry-based learning: The importance of working memory capacity. PLoS One, 16(11), e0259664.

Cobb, P., Confrey, J., DiSessa, A., Lehrer, R., & Schauble, L. (2003). Design experiments in educational research. Educational Researcher, 32(1), 9–13.

Collier, L. D. (2017). Using a project-based language learning approach in the high school Spanish classroom: Perceived challenges and benefits. In Thesis and Dissertations (pp. 1–102). Brigham Young University (BYU) ScholarsArchive

Crosling, G., Nair, M., & Vaithilingam, S. (2015). A creative learning ecosystem, quality of education and innovative capacity: a perspective from higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 40(7), 1147–1163.

Dado, M., & Bodemer, D. (2017). A review of methodological applications of social network analysis in computer-supported collaborative learning. Educational Research Review, 22, 159–180.

Dewey, J. (1916). Nationalizing education. Journal of Education, 84(16), 425–428.

Giawa, I. (2022). The effect of project based learning and problem based learning in writing narrative text. International Journal of Educational Research Excellence (IJERE), 1(1), 34–38.

Guo, P., Saab, N., Post, L. S., & Admiraal, W. (2020). A review of project-based learning in higher education: Student outcomes and measures. International Journal of Educational Research, 102, 101586.

Hai-yan, M. (2014). The task-based teaching of writing to big classes in Chinese EFL setting. English Language Teaching, 7(3), 63–70.

Hallermann, S., Larmer, J., & Mergendoller, J. R. (2016). PBL (Project-based learning) in the elementary grades: step-by-step guidance, tools and tips for standards-focused K-5 projects. Buck Institute for Education.

Hasani, A., Hendrayana, A., & Senjaya, A. (2017). Using project-based learning in writing an educational article: An experience report. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 5(6), 960–964.

Hermansson, C., Jonsson, B., Levlin, M., Lindhé, A., Lundgren, B., & Norlund Shaswar, A. (2019). The (non) effect of joint construction in a genre-based approach to teaching writing. The Journal of Educational Research, 112(4), 483–494.

Holmes, L. M. (2012). The effects of project based learning on 21st century skills and No Child Left Behind accountability standards. University of Florida.

Hunter, J. E., Jensen, J. L., & Rodgers, R. (2014). The control group and meta-analysis. Journal of Methods and Measurement in the Social Sciences, 5(1), 3-21.

IntHout, J., Ioannidis, J. P. A., Borm, G. F., & Goeman, J. J. (2015). Small studies are more heterogeneous than large ones: a meta-meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 68(8), 860–869. doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2015.03.017.

Karlen, Y., & Compagnoni, M. (2017). Implicit theory of writing ability: Relationship to metacognitive strategy knowledge and strategy use in academic writing. Psychology Learning and Teaching, 16(1), 47–63.

Kilpatrick, W. H. (1918). The project method. Teachers College Record, 19(4), 1–5.

Kokotsaki, D., Menzies, V., & Wiggins, A. (2016). Project-based learning: A review of the literature. Improving Schools, 19(3), 267–277.

Krajcik, J. S., & Czerniak, C. M. (2014). Teaching science in elementary and middle school: A project-based approach. Routledge.

Lestari, T., Bharati, D. A. L., & Rukmini, D. (2018). Developing project-based writing assessment module to stimulate students' critical thinking and creativity. English Education Journal, 8(4), 499–507.

Li, D., Zhang, C., & He, Y. (2015). Project-based learning in teaching translation: Students’ perceptions. Interpreter and Translator Trainer, 9(1), 1–19.

Lu, Q. (2021). A new project-based learning concept in English writing. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning, 16(5), 214.

Ma, F. (2015). A review of research methods in EFL education. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 5(3), 566.

Marot, G., Foulley, J.-L., Mayer, C.-D., & Jaffrezic, F. (2009). Moderated effect size and P-value combinations for microarray meta-analyses. Bioinformatics, 25(20), 2692–2699. doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btp444

Nilsook, P., Chatwattana, P., & Seechaliao, T. (2021). The project-based learning management process for vocational and technical education. 11(2), 20–29.

Nunn, R. (2020). Project-based learning: Learning about PBL from successful freshman writing projects. English Scholarship Beyond Borders, 6(1), 41–56.

Nurhajati, D. (2016). Project-based learning used to develop supplementary materials for writing skill. The Asian EFL Journal Professional Teaching Articles, 2, 51–56.

Nurkamto, J., Prihandoko, L. A., Putro, N. H. P. S., & Purwati, O. (2024). Academic writing apprehension in higher education: A systematic review. Studies in English Language and Education, 11(1), 14–247.

*Pohan, A. E. (2020). Enhanching the Secondary Students’writing Skills through Project Based Learning. JCP (Jurnal Cahaya Pendidikan) Fakultas Keguruan dan Ilmu Pendidikan, 6(1), 38-48.

Poonpon, K. (2017). Enhancing English skills through project-based learning. The English Teacher, 40, 1–10.

Praba, L. T., Artini, L. P., & Ramendra, D. P. (2018). Project-based learning and writing skill in EFL: are they related? SHS Web of Conferences, 42, 59.

Qasim, S., Imtiaz, Z., & Alvi, U. (2014). Review of true experimental research studies in Applied Linguistics. Research on Humanities and Social Sciences, 4(22), 146–150.

Quesada-López, C., & Martínez, A. (2019). Implementation of project based learning: lessons learned. 2019 XLV Latin American Computing Conference (CLEI), 1–10.

Rafiqa, R., Pabbajah, M. T. H., Asfihana, R., Naazaruddin, R., & Latifah, L. (2023). The effect of paraphrasing on EFL students’writing at Indonesian higher education. LLT Journal: A Journal on Language and Language Teaching, 26(1), 335–345.

Ramadhan, S., Indriyani, V., Asri, Y., & Sukma, E. (2020). Design of learning modules writing narrative text based on project based learning (PjBL) by using mobile devices. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 1471(1), 12029.

Rashid, M. H., Ye, T., Hui, W., Li, W., & Shunting, W. (2022). Analyse and challenges of teaching writing among the English teachers. Linguistics and Culture Review, 6(S2), 199–209.

Ross, S. M., & Morrison, G. R. (2013). Experimental research methods. In Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (pp. 1007–1029). Routledge.

*Sa’diyah, I. H., & Cahyono, B. Y. (2019). Effect of project-based learning through blogging on EFL students’ writing ability. Journal on English as a Foreign Language, 9(2), 199–216.

*Sadeghi, H., Biniaz, M., & Soleimani, H. (2016). The impact of project-based language learning on Iranian EFL learners comparison/contrast paragraph writing skills. International Journal of Asian Social Science, 6(9), 510-524.

*Sari, F., Hendrety, Y., & Tridinanti, G. (2021). Utilizing project based learning to improve writing skill and reading comprehension achievement of the EFL students. English Community Journal, 5(2), 73-82.

Sari, Y. I., Utomo, D. H., & Astina, I. K. (2021). The effect of problem based learning on problem solving and scientific writing skills. International Journal of Instruction, 14(2), 11–26.

*Setiawan, D., & Herlambang, Y. T. (2022). Dampak model project based learning terhadap kemampuan menulis teks eksplanasi siswa sekolah dasar. Jurnal Lensa Pendas, 7(2), 129-136.

Shin, N., Bowers, J., Krajcik, J., & Damelin, D. (2021). Promoting computational thinking through project-based learning. Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Science Education Research, 3(1), 1–15.

Sirisrimangkorn, L. (2018). The use of project-based learning focusing on drama to promote speaking skills of EFL learners. Advances in Language and Literary Studies, 9(6), 14–20.

Su Ping, R. L., Verezub, E., Adi Badiozaman, I. F. bt, & Chen, W. S. (2020). Tracing EFL students’ flipped classroom journey in a writing class: Lessons from Malaysia. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 57(3), 305–316.

Sukerti, G. N. A., & Yuliantini, N. (2018). Learning autonomy in writing class: Implementation of project-based learning in english for spesific purposes. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 953(1), 12101.

Syarifah, E. F., & Emiliasari, R. N. (2019). Project-based learning to develop students' ability and creativity in writing narrative story. Indonesian EFL Journal, 5(1), 85–94.

Tian, Y., Kim, M., & Crossley, S. (2024). Making sense of L2 written argumentation with keystroke logging. Journal of Writing Research, 15(3), 435-461.

Tipton, E. (2015). Small sample adjustments for robust variance estimation with meta-regression. Psychological Methods, 20(3), 375–393. doi:10.1037/met0000011

Waddington, J. (2018). Teacher understanding and implementation of motivational strategies in ELT. ELT Journal, 72(2), 162–174.

Walvoord, B. E.9., & Anderson, V. J. (2010). Effective grading: A tool for learning and assessment in college. The Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series, xii, 255 pages.

Williams, C. (2007). Research methods. Journal of Business & Economics Research (JBER), 5(3), 65-72.

Zahran, F. A. (2018). The impact of project based learning on EFL critical reading and writing skills. Studies in Curriculum and Instruction, 232, 39–72.

Zakzanis, K. K. (1998). The reliability of meta-analytic review. Psychological Reports, 83(1), 215-222.



How to Cite

Cahyono, B. Y., Rika Irawati, Amalia, S. N. ., & Hidayat, L. E. . (2024). Project-based Learning in EFL educational settings: A meta-analysis study in EFL/ESL writing. Journal of Writing Research. Retrieved from