“If I complete a course on Project Management, then I expect to understand and be able use what was taught, but when I study Project Management, I fall asleep, and comprehend very little below surface concepts.”
What do you prefer when learning new project management principles; lectures, videos, picture & graphs, role playing, discussions, performance reviews, reading books, podcasts, or maybe modeling and simulation? At pmNERDS, course instructors and designer are challenged to use these teaching tools. Some are better at this than others.
However, in our e-Learning courses there are some standards that every course must be based on. Project Based Learning (PBL) is one of them.
PBL is used by many modern schools to help students acquire a deeper conceptual understanding of the material being studied. PBL is an overall approach to the design of learning experiences. Learning experiences such as Project Based Learning have five key features:
1) They start with a driving question, a challenge or problem to be solved. We are advocates for the use of a well formatted problem statement.
2) Students explore the driving question by participating in authentic, situated inquiry - processes of problem solving that are central to expert performance in Integrated PM. As students explore the driving question/problem, they learn and apply important ideas within Integrated PM.
3) Students, teachers, and community members engage in collaborative activities to find solutions to the driving question/problem. This mirrors the complex situation of expert problem solving.
4) While engaged in the inquiry process, students grow with learning technologies that help them participate in activities normally beyond their ability.
5) Students create a set of tangible products that address the driving question. These are shared artifacts, publicly accessible external representations of the participants learning.
With e-Learning offerings found at the Center of Excellence, technology helps support this PBL approach. All the community developed courses come packaged with curriculum materials. The technology platform helps them build, test, and evaluate qualitive, dynamic planning and manage problems within complex projects.
The tangible artifacts of the course projects allow students to share and have their artifacts reviewed by others- teachers, peers, friends, colleagues, parents, employers, employees, and members of the community members.
Using PBL and our technology platform, instructors and designers create learning experiences that focus on driving questions that students find meaningful and important, and around which students can develop an understanding of Integrated PM.