10 online training tips for project managers

Jacqui Ross
November 28, 2012

3. Do the training when you learn best
Slot the training into your day when you are at your peak. For some, that may be between 10am and 2pm or perhaps before work, or perhaps you may learn better at the end of the day when the disruptions are gone.  Because it’s online, you can do it when it suits you, so make sure you schedule it for a time that suits you personally and when you’re going to get the most out of it.

4. Minimise distractions and interruptions
While it can, technically, be done anywhere, anytime, online training courses still require you to concentrate. Two common barriers to successful e-learning are distractions and interruptions. You can easily lose your place in an online course, which disrupts knowledge retention. So plan to undertake online learning in a quiet area with minimal distractions. Tell those around you that you are about to do some online training. Ask for privacy and minimise interruptions. If you are going to do it while on the move, perhaps try noise-cancelling headphones. It takes discipline to ensure the benefits are realised, but it’s worth it.

5. Break it up!
Spending hours and hours in front of a screen very quickly becomes monotonous and strains the eyes of even the most committed learner. Plan how you will complete the training and break sessions into half-hour ‘chunks’. Even taking a mini-break every half-hour will reduce strain on the eyes and refresh your energy levels for each new online session.

6. Don’t rush it
Make sure that what you are viewing on your screen is sinking in. If your mouse is continuously hovering over the ‘Next’ button, it can be easy to feel the need to press on without properly digesting the information. Take your time and revisit any modules or scenarios that you are unsure about. This is especially important with step-by-step tutorials.

7. Put it into practice
While someone else can show you how, when learning any new skill, you need to practice it. So when possible, don’t do the training unless you have the ability to apply what you’ve learnt away from the e-learning environment to be sure that you have grasped the content. While that may not always be possible, especially if you’re trying to learn new skills and knowledge, do all that you can to put into practice what you’ve learnt as soon as you can.

8. Match your career goals
When you sign up for a course with the intention of broadening your career options or job understanding, make sure to seek advice from your colleagues, your boss or those in positions that you are striving for. Individuals who have strong ideas about your industry’s future may well be able to define particular skills and recommend courses that will get you ahead.

9. Believe in its merits
E-learning means you will be interacting with the newest technologies at your own pace, with the best tools available. But it is vastly different from the face-to-face education you may well be accustomed to. So your attitude is important. To be successful, you will need to believe in its potential to provide quality education, education that is being continually improved thanks to advancements in our understanding and implementation of online learning. If you start out with the wrong attitude, you won’t get the most from it.

10. Understand its limitations
Online learning is not ‘a silver bullet’—you can’t learn everything you need to know from spending a couple of hours in front of a screen—but it can give you a great start. However, it is usually only one element of the overall learner experience and knowledge build. Often real-life, on-the-job coaching and mentoring experience are additional core components of the learning path. Approach online learning with this in mind and supplement the online content with additional learning methods and tools.

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Jacqui Ross
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.
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