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Expert Answers Series - From Traditional to the Future: Learning Trends

Posted by Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin

Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin is editor-in-chief for PM Solutions Research, and the author, co-author and editor of over twenty books on project management, including the 2007 PMI Literature Award winner, The AMA Handbook of Project Management, Second Edition.

Editor’s note: Continuing our series of blogs that furnish answers to questions posed during our May webinar (recording available here), Debbie Bigelow Crawford tackles a participant’s query about future training styles. Read another post in this series here.

Q: What, if any, trends are emerging on shifting from traditional classroom style training to non-traditional training styles (case studies, improvs, etc)?

Crawford: There is definitely a shift not only from the traditional classroom style, but the traditional content approach. Students want to be engaged in training.  They want to participate.  Video, as part of training, is definitely an emerging trend.  I personally teach Performance Measurement and Benefits Realization classes, which are very interactive, “workshop” style with breakout groups, who join forces to learn how to apply the tools to which they are introduced.  Days of mere lectures are definitely gone.  Shorter, more impactful training that can be immediately applied is probably the biggest change. 

The future trend … and I’m not sure how I feel about it  … is for Fast.  People want to learn fast.  Bottom line.  Fast and applicable. “Microlearning” is a new buzz word.  This definitely has its place in learning.  Youtube is a perfect example: you can immediately find out how to put in a garbage disposal or fix a flat … a practical, show-me-how approach.  It works … but just like anything, one size doesn’t fit all.  Some complex topics require more time, more understanding of the concepts behind the “fix.”

To find a blend of the “old and the new,” PM College has started developing video-enhanced 2-day instructor-led courses, virtual instructor-led courses that are delivered virtually in 4 or 5  two-hour sessions, plus our version of microlearning—“webinar packages,” where clients can select up to six one-hour presentations on trending topics to present as “lunch and learns” or “knowledge sharing” sessions.

Our State of Training research, where we had 247 organizations participating, showed that the majority of organizations (69%) felt that instructor-led training was the most effective training.  The second most effective was blended training, (a blend of instructor-led and eLearning) with a score of 53%. But that was a few years ago. It will be interesting to see how these methods of training will rate in today’s more aggressive need for speed!

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