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Cliff Notes of project management.

* Managing Resources, online, 2000, Xebec/McGraw-Hill Lifelong Learning, $4,750 (10 courses, 25 users each). Review access furnished by GeoLearning (800-970-9903, fax 515-222-5920, www.geolearning.com).

Looking for a quick overview of what project management? This may be the course for you! Project management is the art of bringing together people and resources to successfully achieve a goal (project) in a given period of time.

The key word here is "successfully." While a project may be completed on time or even ahead of time, it's the execution of the project details that contributes most to success. And here is where the project manager comes him. He or she is the conductor, making sure the right people are involved at the right time using the right tools and within budget and time constraints.

You can complete this course in about four hours according to the publisher, McGraw-Hill. Accessible over the Internet, the course can be taken anywhere. It allows you to opt out of modules through the use of very short assessment surveys (more on these in a moment).

However, if you're looking for an in-depth treatment of project management to add to your tool kit, pass this one by!

Technical issues

Managing Resources is a CBT-based course delivered via the web. Unfortunately, there's no information that advises the potential student what the minimum equipment specifications are in order to successfully complete it. I had to download an "online course player." Depending upon your modem speed, phone line connection, CPU, etc., this could take a few minutes. It's a one-time event--no need to download again on subsequent visits to the course website. If you're behind a firewall, however, this may be a problem.

The program employs animations, but I feel they're an unnecessary distraction. Worse, some don't work properly. Halfway through the budgeting module, you're instructed to click the budget printout for more information. There is nothing to click and no continue button to move forward in the module. I was stuck fast and couldn't finish the module.

When viewing the "process of monitoring and control" module, I ran into a snag again when following a slide show presentation. After about five slides, the right arrow didn't respond to my click. I clicked again and again. Finally, I scrolled down and found a "Continue" button. This button was too low to see without scrolling down the page. There was no prompt that said "Go to continue button."

Assessment

The self-assessment surveys and self-tests are flawed because the student many times is not sure how to answer the question. Each question should tell you "Choose one best answer" or "Choose one or more answers." I discovered that sometimes one answer was expected, and other times more than one answer was expected. Questions asking "true or false?" sometimes have "yes" and "no" answer selections. The assessments usually consist of three questions or less. Your "learning need" for the module is determined by responses to these few questions.

Content and design

The modules do give student objectives and use the Socratic method of questioning as a teaching tool. Two different types of industries are used for case study examples: manufacturing and retail. I would rather see the consistent use of one industry type or the other so you can follow the logic of the process and the company concepts all the way through.

I expected the modules to be offered in a logical sequence. The first module on the course list, however, is "applying controls." I would expect controls to be introduced later in the course sequence of concepts. Another unfortunate fact is your stopping point isn't bookmarked if you exit before finishing the module. Thus, you have to start the module all over again beginning with the self-assessment.

I also felt the use of slang such as "up to scratch" was inappropriate. I think more formal English should be used in training programs. And slang could confuse students who aren't native English speakers.

Recommendation

As a quick overview of project management concepts, this course works. If you're short on time, it introduces you to the basics with dispatch. The technical problem that prevented me from finishing the budgeting module influences my rating to a large degree. I understand that this course is part of a larger package of management courses (10) offered by the reseller that provided access. As a stand-alone online course, this one rates no better than average.

Barbara Fillicaro (barbiejf@earthlink.net) is an instructional designer and trainer based in Niles, IL, a suburb of Chicago. Her experience includes designing training for two Internet-based companies: an online auction house and a supply chain management system. She is adjunct faculty at two colleges.
Managing Resources product rating
Holds user interest **
Production quality *
Ease of navigation *1/2
Interactivity **
Value of content **
Instructional value **
Value for the money *1/2
Overall rating **


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Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Managing Resources, online course
Author:Fillicaro, Barbara
Publication:Training Media Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2001
Words:973
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