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As pressure on project managers increases, online project management courses are increasingly becoming popular. During the Covid pandemic some institutions that traditionally taught primarily in-class project management courses were forced to present their courses online. This enabled them to continue online after the pandemic.

Should you study project management online or rather attend classes? How can I succeed when I study an online project management course? What is a blended project management course and what is a hybrid project management course? What is a synchronous online project management course and how does it differ from an asynchronous project management course? These are some of the questions this article sheds light on.

Should I study project management online or rather attend classes?

Attending physical classes has the advantage of direct access to the lecturer and networking with classmates. When something is unclear, you can raise your hand and ask a question and even have a discussion with the lecturer during one of the breaks. You can also learn from classmates that share their experiences and you can discuss assignments with them. On many project management courses classes disperse into syndicates that perform group activities. When you get stuck, say on a calculation, classmates can assist.

Online project management courses however also have benefits: you don’t need to travel to a venue where the classes are conducted. This saves costs of travelling and accommodation. As the use of classrooms, catering and remuneration of lecturers imply higher costs for the institution, course fees of online project management courses are typically cheaper. In some cases attending classes travelling (e.g. from another country) is totally impractical. When studying online, you normally don’t have to take leave from work as you can often study whenever it suits you.

Synchronous and asynchronous online project management courses

In an asynchronous course, the lectures and other course material are pre-recorded and the student studies whenever it suits her or him. In other words, you study according to your own schedule to finish within a prescribed timeframe. While this provides maximum flexibility, it is essential that you discipline our self to not fall behind and finish each week’s work on time.

With synchronous courses, the student attends ‘live’, virtual classes at the same time that the lecturer teaches in a virtual classroom. This means that you have to log in and participate in class at a specific time each week. Students are sometimes required to make presentations. Attending virtual classes at specific times could interfere with your work or with other activities you might have to attend to. The advantages of synchronous online project management courses include that it is somewhat similar to in-class courses where you can, for example, put up your hand to ask a question. Experience however shows that interaction and networking in online courses lack the warmth of classes conducted in a physical classroom where engagement takes place more naturally. It is important that you participate as much as possible.

Asynchronous project management courses typically includes quizzes that the student has to answer and feedback on such quizzes are available immediately. If you consider enrolling on an asynchronous course, find out whether regular contact with the instructor or lecturer would be possible. In some asynchronous courses you would have to work completely on your own and not be part of any class. Such a course can become a very lonely journey. On any asynchronous course you must discipline our self to ensure that you complete each week’s work on schedule.

What is a blended project management course and what is a hybrid project management course?

Blended or hybrid project management courses attempt to capitalise on the benefits of both online and in-class courses. Parts of such a course is done online while other parts of the course are done in a physical classroom. These courses are essentially a compromise between online and in-class courses. For people living far away from where the physical classes take place (e.g. overseas), this is not a practical option.

Compromises include for example that costs are typically less than for courses that are presented entirely in a physical classroom, but less than for fully online courses.

How can I succeed when I study an online project management course?

As implied above, studying project management online is more challenging than doing a course where you have to attend classes. Another factor that makes online studies more challenging is that – especially on an asynchronous course – it requires much more self-discipline. But even on a synchronous course you will have to book some study time at regular intervals in addition to attending virtual classes.

Online studies cannot be done by starting and stopping a number of short sessions; you need fairly long uninterrupted periods of studying. We strongly recommend that, on an asynchronous course, you schedule regular study periods and get into a routine of studying, say every Saturday morning (or whenever a regular session suits you).

Logging in from a desktop or laptop computer is preferable to logging in with a phone.

You can download a free ebook on online studying here:

Free ebook Successful Online Learning

Good luck with choosing the project management course that suits you best!

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Accreditation

The PPM is recognized by the following:

  1. PMI (Project Management Institute) – USA and Globally
  2. ECSA (Engineering Council of SA)
  3. SACPCMP (South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions)
  4. SACNASP (South African Council for Natural Scientific Professionals)
  5. PMSA (Project Management South Africa)

On successful completion of the PPM, suitable candidates may be eligible to apply for the professional designation of Project Manager (PM) conferred by Project Management South Africa (PMSA). PMSA is the SAQA recognized professional body representing the interests of project managers across sectors.

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