Categories: Education and Training
Most project management training is based primarily on passive learning: listening to an instructor, looking at slides or reading, for example. This kind of traditional education focuses on teaching, not learning.
Active learning, on the other hand, puts the responsibility on the student. Whether in class discussions or written exercises, they're compelled to read, speak, listen and think.
One of the most powerful active learning models is experiential learning. Participants find meaning in experience -- learning through reflection and doing. As ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius once said: "Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand."
Let's say you want to teach the importance of planning before executing, for example. Instead of just explaining it, try this lesson in experiential learning. Give a bag of LEGO parts -- the toy building bricks -- to a group of students and ask them to build a car in five minutes. When the time is up, show a slide with the project phases: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing. Then ask them to identify which phase applied to which part of building the car.
I challenge you to consider experiential learning programs for project managers. They observe and evaluate the effects of a situation as they participate -- and then apply this learning on actual projects.
Have you tried experiential learning? What are the pros and cons over passive learning?