Are you looking for project management training? Here then, is your guide on how to pick a training provider that´ll meet your expectations.

Your first challenge is to choose between classroom, virtual, or e-learning format of training.

Some arguments for classroom training include:

  • Group learning dynamics enhanced by a live instructor. It is often great fun that also leads to a better learning outcome.
  • Experts say that getting out of your comfort zone will do you good.
  • It´s over and done within five days, including exams. That´s by far the most time-efficient way of obtaining a PM certification.


Virtual instructor-led training can be a bit tricky:

  • It demands from delegates a high degree of self-discipline and commitment to learning. Some delegates do manage during the whole day to keep their concentration and remain focused on the slides on the screen and the instructor talking in the background. But there are many more who choose not to. That´s what telemetry tells me.
  • The problem is, PM training includes conceptually complex content and a steep learning curve. And if delegates are busy with something else half of the time, this complexity tends to elude them.
  • Scheduling of post-course self-study and exams can suffer from procrastination as the immediate tends to override all other priorities.

My experience in delivering virtual training indicates that this format generates a worse learning outcome. Maybe not a dramatically worse one. But still worse enough to produce more borderline exam scores. And more exam resits.  As these tend to be pricey, it can turn out to be more costly, too.

And on the whole, it seems virtual training demands from delegates more time and effort to obtain certification as compared to attending a classroom course.

All in all, virtual instructor-led training may be a fair substitute for classroom training in case the latter is not available or accessible. But otherwise, I find its value for money for delegates being below optimal.

E-learning will be perfect for you:

  • If you are not in any big hurry to obtain the certification and can afford to study on a loose schedule.
  • Or if you have both a rigid deadline and an iron will stick to it.

Beware that it´s very human to overestimate the firmness of one´s determination. Look at me. I thought I was pretty much focussed and resolute in my plans and under time pressure, too. But it still took me close to four months to get to the end of it. I hated myself for procrastinating but just couldn´t push myself harder.

One more factor that should guide your choice is the scheduling of exams.

Let´s take as an example PRINCE®2 training that is quite popular.

It´s best when you sit for the Foundation exam immediately upon completing the Foundation training module that involves some 18 hours of training. Delaying it any further won´t do you any good.

On a classroom course, a paper-based exam is scheduled accordingly. If doing a virtual course or e-learning, you´ll need to book an online exam yourself.

It is even more essential to ensure that you can sit for the Practitioner exam within 10 days after completing the course. That´s when you have the best chance of getting the highest score.

If you delay it any longer, new knowledge will move to the back burner, and you´ll start gradually losing it. It is possible to kick yourself back into shape even after a month or two. But that will require more time and effort.

Classroom training schedules often include taking the paper-based Practitioner exam on the last day of training.

But that´s not a universal rule. Some providers offer a voucher for an online exam instead, which is less than perfect. Make sure to doublecheck.

Sitting for the Practitioner exam on the last day of your classroom course is the optimal tactic – provided three conditions are met:

  • Take² exam insurance is included in your course package,
  • You received the PRINCE2® guidance (manual) at least one week before the course start date,
  • AND you had an opportunity to read it through – NOT just skim through it! – at least once. The guidance is 400+pages thick – and taking a shot at the Practitioner exam without getting at least some impression of its content is risky.

Don´t get spellbound by first page rankings. Look deeper. Or broader.

An easy choice would be to pick a provider from the first page of search engine rankings, right? Well, I personally rarely buy things or services from suppliers listed in first-page rankings. And before I even consider doing it, I`d first check for keyword difficulty of whatever it is that I am looking for.

You see, keyword difficulty for long-tail keywords related to many types of PM training is mostly in the upper 60s. That is pretty close to the threshold of the top “super-hard” tier that starts at 71.

It means that to rank on the first page, multi-year big-bucks investment in SEO is required. Smaller training providers simply cannot afford it. As a result, the first two pages of rankings are crammed with behemoth-sized global training corporations.

But an investment in SEO quite obviously needs to be recovered, right? Makes perfect business sense, too. That´s why it is factored into course prices and drives them up.

Niche – or boutique, or bespoke, call them what you want – training providers have no claim on pricey SEO “real estate.” And as a consequence of that and their smaller size, their overheads are dramatically lower. That´s why they can – and do – offer more reasonable prices. Their problem is, few clients are patient enough to drill deep enough through search engine pages.

But you can locate them using alternative methods.

Consider looking for guest postings on PM-related blogs – you are spot on, just like this one. Or search for professional associations that will list their members´ websites.

A lower price charged by niche providers does not automatically mean lower quality of training. Not at all. There is no reason to be afraid that smaller training providers will do a poorer job. Or are less serious. If anything, the opposite may often prove to be true.

All training providers of accredited courses, big and small, and their trainers are licensed following the same stringent procedure and use accredited training materials that are substantially similar in content. Some of the behemoth corporations that run courses globally and in a variety of subjects will contract niche providers as suppliers of trainers. And effectively charge clients for the costs.

Here is the point I want to make. When picking a PM training format and provider, think it through. Don´t fall for marketing hype or search engine rankings.

Author bio

Alexei Kuvshinnikov has some 20+ years of practice in international project management. He delivered projects in Europe, Central Asia, Turkey, and South America.  He is also an accredited PM trainer and operates his own training company FlexiLernVA e.U. Registered in Austria.

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexei-kuvshinnikov-503b93124/


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