Thinking of Taking an Online Project Management Course? Read this first…

Oxymorons are a colorful expression of speech. You combine two words that mean the exact opposite of each other to clarify meaning. For example, everyone knows what you are talking about when you say ‘jumbo shrimp’ or ‘civil war’ or ‘pretty ugly’.

What do you think of when you hear the expression ‘virtual reality’? Virtual means that something doesn’t physically exist. On the other hand, reality describes actual existence. Originally the expression applied only to computer simulated games and yet our workplace is heading in the ‘virtual’ direction at a steady pace as well.  Events that were until recently only ‘real’ world are now occurring virtually:

Project management to is benefiting from the blurring line between the real and virtual world in terms of the training and professional development available now via an online project management course. Now mainstream, an online project management courses are accessible to nearly anyone that has a computer and internet connection. What are some of the things you can do to get the most out of an online project management course? This is especially important if you have paid money for such a course or need the information that is presented to pass a certification exam.

Online Project Management Course Requirements

There is one personal quality that is essential for anyone that is going to take an online project management course. That quality is discipline. That’s right discipline. Many teleworkers have found this to be an incredibly important part of being able to work from home successfully. We all have the mental image of the person that lazily rolled out of bed in the morning and then groggily walked over to their home office in their pajamas, fired up their computer, and started their work for the day.

The reality for people that work successfully from home is very different. These people have a disciplined schedule that they adhere to each day. They get up at an early hour, exercise, take care of the children, get them off to school, get ready themselves and then begin working from home. They adhere to this schedule because it’s up to them to get the job done as effectively and efficiently as possible. This requires discipline. And it is a discipline that is required if you are to make the most out of an online project management course.

Why Discipline is Needed for an Online Project Management Course

Discipline is needed for an online project management course because you are not in a classroom setting or surrounded by a roomful of your peers. Your online project management course will most likely be taken alone while you are sitting in front of your computer or another electronic device. This means you could be prone to distractions that could quickly take you off your goal of finishing the course. The following are some things you can do to make sure that you get the most out of your online project management course:

Check your Motives

The foundation of taking any online project management course successfully is to check your motives. Why are you taking this course? Are you just cramming to get PDUs and don’t really care about the material? If that’s the case, you could quickly find yourself distracted and not getting the most from the course. On the other hand, if your motive is to help solve a problem that you and your team are experiencing at work, then you will be much more inclined to listen and follow along carefully.

Communicate, Engage and Interact

There are two types of online project management courses. One is a live session and the other is a recorded session. Both have their benefits and advantages. A live session will allow you to engage and participate. Most online courses will allow you to ask questions. This may be by either voice or most likely by means of an instant message chat with the host. Take advantage of this ability to interact with the instructor by asking questions, making comments, and responding to the material that is being presented.

Remove Distractions

There are so many things that can distract us in our multi-media world that our attention span has become non-existent. Think about how we interact with each other these days. Quick, short, sound-bites that we capture, process and then quickly on to the next quick, short, sound-bite. Our interaction with others has come down to a steady stream of 140 characters or less on Twitter. We look for and are mentally engaged and stimulated by this type of interaction. To remain disciplined and succeed at your online project management course you will need to close out of your social media streams. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, gone. Turn off the TV, radio, podcast or other distraction. Ask the kids to go outside and play until the course is complete. Yes, take drastic measures to ensure you are not distracted otherwise ten minutes could pass before you realize you haven’t heard one thing that was uttered by the instructor.

Freely Rewind

The other type of online project management course is those that are pre-recorded. This means that you can download and take the course whenever you want. It is completely dependent upon your schedule. When you take these courses be sure to take advantage of the ability to rewind and repeat any part that you may have missed or did not understand. Free rewind the material until you get what is being covered and thoroughly understand the material.

Play Along at Home

Most online project management courses will come with some type of material you can print out and use to follow along. Be sure to take advantage of this feature. This is beneficial for a number of reasons. First, it is just one more sense engaged in the learning process. It makes the experience that much more tangible. Plus, it provides you something to focus on and prevents you from getting distracted. You’ll be able to see where the instructor is going and reference where he has been.

Review and Apply

Take the time after the session to review and apply the material you just covered. Remember the importance of your motive in #1 above. Your motive needs to be more than just taking a course for the sake of earning PDUs. Rather, you need to take a course for the purpose of learning what you can apply in your workplace immediately. Write down and review what you learned and how you will be able to implement this within your organization. This will make the material come to life in a practical nature.

Apply the principles above the next time you take an online project management course and you’ll be terribly pleased to find that a virtual online course can work as well (or better) for you as a real classroom!

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