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10 online training tips for project managers

The benefits of online learning are well documented in terms of accessibility, convenience, cost effectiveness and being available 24/7. But what can you do to make sure that you optimise the value of these courses? Here’s how project managers can get the most out of online learning.

As a project manager, there never seems to be enough time for training. Certainly if your experience is anything like mine, you move from one project to the next, often finishing one and starting another simultaneously. That means when you do make that commitment and schedule (pun intended!) time for training, you need to make sure it’s going to give you the knowledge and skills that you expect.

Fast-paced and more mobile lifestyles are changing the way people learn: we want to be able to access training when and where we want it. The world of project management is no exception. Next generation e-learning is taking a greater role in organisational learning due to its enhanced interactivity, speed, convenience and reduced cost in comparison to traditional training and educational channels, especially for remote workforces.

Also, the prevalence of digital devices, such as tablets, has prompted a 40% increase in the popularity of online enterprise training, according to the 2012 Digital Learning for Business report by the ILX Group. But not all online training is the same! So here are 10 top tips to help you get the most from online learning:

1. Choose wisely!
Do your research and ask lots of questions. Once you’ve established that the provider knows the subject, it’s important to look at the course itself. Start with the level of interactivity. Ensure that the course requires you to do something: click here, read that, take a quiz, watch a video. The more interaction, the more likely it is to hold your interest, to motivate you to continue and—importantly—to ensure you remember what you’re being taught.

Look also for variation in the way the course is structured: if it’s the same style all the time, it’s like having someone speaking at you in a monotone. Make sure too that the course has consistent navigation: if it doesn’t, you’re going to get distracted trying to figure out how to move through the course and you won’t concentrate on what is being taught. Finally, get a second opinion. While it can look good on paper and the demonstration or sample module may look great, the whole course may not be like that.

2. Check system compatibility
A common trap with online learning is that your system is not compatible with the technology through which the online content is delivered. For example, if you intend to do the training on an iPad, you may not be able to open Flash files or the streaming file may be large and be extremely slow to download, which affects simulations or your ability to watch multimedia.

One way to avoid this is to check the stated software requirements and the quality of instructions before you purchase the course. Ask if there is a module that you can trial to test your system compatibility. This way, you can avoid a number of technological frustrations.

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Jacqui Ross is a change and learning manager at Prescience Technology, a consultancy that specialises in enterprise level project solutions by combining deep technical knowledge with proven experience in disciplined project management and delivery, and change and learning. She has facilitated and led large change projects, from system implementations to corporate transformations, and is experienced in all aspects of this discipline, from needs analysis, to design, delivery, assessment and evaluation of training.
Jacqui Ross has written 1 articles for us.

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