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Is this the end of conventional training as we know it?

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Since we began a pilot development programme in April last year, we have seen a 40% increase in project management capability compared with existing methods. What’s more 80% of delegates who’ve been through the programme say they feel more challenged and knowledgeable than when they started.

With results like that, it would seem we have developed a solution delivering sustainable capability improvement across departmental, specialism and hierarchical lines. And who knows; a new way of learning for us all.

The big change in emphasis coincided with a review of our current training provision when we began to challenge the value of someone being immersed in a training environment for X days to undertake an exam of Y questions to achieve Z qualification. Instead of telling delegates, “Yes, that’s how it should be in theory but here…” we took the decision to harness the energy of those eager to put their valuable learning into their working life.

This in turn, led to the creation of the PMPPDP (Project Management Professional Practice Development Programme) - a study programme geared towards developing people academically, professionally and personally at each level of their career.

Included in the programme we mapped out professional career paths; adopted a workshop-style approach to learning and sent delegates back into the workplace with a learning diary to apply the learning and capture what happened.

We introduced regular review sessions looking at capability - based around APM’s Competence Framework – and used 360 feedback from fellow professionals to track progress. Quarterly meetings gave delegates the opportunity to share ideas, while one-to-one mentoring gave them unrivalled access to experienced project and programme managers.

All of the above has contributed to spectacular success we have achieved to date. So is this the end of conventional classroom training as we know it? Well, not quite. We believe it should be complementary and signpost ‘branch lines’ of additional specialist learning – but the focus remains on developing a multi-skilled approach for a multi-talented workforce.


In future blogs delegates will be telling us how they are putting the programme into practice.


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  1. Darren Jaundrill
    Darren Jaundrill 23 May 2014, 04:18 PM

    Hi SolomonThanks for the reply - glad it sparked some interest for you.You are quite right that it is a form of blended learning. We have put slightly more emphasis on the application and experience elements however as it is my belief that it is in those areas that we see sustained and embedded improvement as opposed to a quick win which is not realised in the longer term.I agree fully that conventional training still has it's place. I'm keen that to gain a higher depth of knowledge that we use more conventional means. For example, on the programme we cover Heath, Safety, Wellbeing and Environmental Implications. Within that sessions I signpost items such as CDM and NEBOSH as possible further training delegates ca undertake to develop the knowledge to a higher level and/or if their role requires it. They would be delivered through the traditional model.I'm keen to engage with people throughout the professional to see if we have developed something which could have applications across the divides of context, industry and specialism and to continue it's development. Imagine if together we as a profession cracked this particular nut......Our next blog will be from delegates reflecting on how have applied the principles and concepts of project management within their work contexts.Thanks again for the comment.DJ

  2. Solomon Akrofi
    Solomon Akrofi 19 May 2014, 10:51 PM

    Darren, What you have described here is indeed a very interesting approach to developing PPM capability.  In reality, this is a form of blended learning offering  participants the opportunity to engage in reflective practice and apply the "fresh" knowledge to resolve real-life issues in the workplace.  On the other hand, most of the conventional training programmes have a time lag between knowledge acquisition and application but are still relevant  as they tend to be less expensive compared to the model you have described and can be rolled across a large number of employees within a short duration.  So we cannot just write off traditional training interventions just yet. Solomon