If you never heard of NERCOMP before, I highly encourage you to go over and look at what they have to offer to those who are IDer and ITers in Higher Education in the New England area.
I was lucky enough to receive professional development money to attend a 3-day course for CAPM. CAPM stands for Certified Associate in Project Management. This certification process is through the PMI (Project Management Insitute). The class was offered through NERCOMP and facilitated through to New Horizons Learning Solutions. The PMI have tough requirements which made this particular course crammed packed full of information and how to take the certification test.
I decided on NERCOMP because the ATD has modified the Project Management course to make it relevant to Trainers or Instructional Designers. They call their program Project Management for Learning Professionals and is a 2-day course, it was more expensive than the NERCOMP course and didn’t cover as much information. You can also pick up the Project Management for Trainers through Amazon. I strongly recommend the book, it’s a good “techie” read and will help you understand the basics of Project Management in the ID process (they use ADDIE, SAM, and Agile — more towards SAM because that is what the ATD is moving towards).
Although, it looks like that the two course are different, even though they share the concept of project management, the two are not the same. Project Management from the viewpoint of the PMI is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements (PMBOK p. 554) The book also defines a project as a temporary endeavor and is different from operational controls — For instance building a course is a project, while the maintenance of the course is operational.
PMI has created a system to manage projects from large to small. Their system can be found again in their guide, known at PMBOK, on Page 61. In this chart it lays out five processes and 10 areas of knowledge. This “system” guides the Project Manager from start to finish. The PMBOK is a comprehensive guide.
The course is extremely taxing on the mind and body, it’s 3 days 9:00am to 5:30pm (the last day we went to 6:00pm). It covers everything from how to initiate the process to how to close. As you can see from the PDF that I linked above there are a lot of steps in the process and as Instructional Designers you might not have hands on experience with, like Risks & Cost, but will have control over Time, Quality, Scope, Communication, Quality, and possibly Managing people.
I think I will sit for the CAPM exam, within the next few months, be
cause I truly think that Project Management and Instructional Design are interconnected. Although, Instructional Designers are taught in school time management, and we might have created a gantt chart, understand what a milestone is, Instructional Design systems leave out a few steps that Managing Instructional Designers might not be exposed too. It’s important I think (even in academia) it’s important to know the cost, the risks, associated with courses.
I am sure that I will hear rounds of; In academia, we don’t need another business model, because of Academic Freedoms. I don’t think some systems lack Academic Freedoms I think it allows Academics to be more creative and invest in tools that will allow Learners become critical thinkers. Let’s face it, it’s pretty scary suddenly have to understand costs and risk (in money).
But if we academics can look at the Risks and costs, in terms of the human element. What if this course doesn’t run, how will affect a student’s retention or ability to gain employment or the college’s ability to get a particular certification from a licensing body.
I look forward to sitting for the exam even with my dreaded Test Anxiety.
What I would like do is write a few blog posts on the differences between IDS and PM (PMI) and how these systems can be used in Higher Education.
Would I recommend this course to others? YES, I definitely would.
Will I take the Certification? Yes, but most likely in the late Spring.