I have had multiple PMP Aspirants reach out to me asking if they must opt for a Self-Paced Courses available online (LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, etc) or Virtual Instructor-Led courses. This article provides insight on both methods and would hopefully help you in making a decision.
Major PMP Training Mediums: Self-Paced Courses VS Virtual Instructor-Led Training
The time of an instructor demonstrating PMP concepts on a screen to a group of learners, is fading away, in favor of virtual instructors conducting training classes and training courses consisting of pre-recorded videos.
Self-paced courses and virtual instructor-led courses are by far the two most popular PMP training methods today; however, to a new learner, the mediums and their potential advantages over each other, can lead to some confusion regarding which method to choose. Additionally, it can lead to internal debates within a group of individuals regarding which training method is best to attain 35 hours of project management education (35 PDU's) to fulfill one of the prerequisites of Project Management Institute, Inc. to apply for the PMP Examination.
In this article, we will discuss in detail the salient features, as well as the pros and cons of each method, to help you decide which method is most suitable for you.
Self-Paced (Pre-Recorded) PMP Courses
Following are the primary features and advantages of a self-paced course.
- Detailed, Pre-Recorded Tutorials: Perhaps the most flexible training method, self-paced training puts into effect the ‘self-paced’ concept through pre-recorded tutorials which contain all the relevant information pertaining to the course, in a series of videos. Said videos can be watched whenever a learner chooses, thereby extending the training as much as one wants.
- Immediate Availability of Course Materials: The self-paced course presents all the information and course materials pertaining to it immediately to the learner, instead of over a set schedule. This has an advantage for the individual learner. Firstly, if they already know part of the course due to prior training, they can start the training directly from the relevant point.
Advantages of Self-Paced Courses
Flexible Course Timing, Location and Pace: This form of training presents a massive advantage for individuals looking to complete the training at their own pace with no timing restraints or deadlines.
Complete, All-Inclusive Courses: Self-paced courses are usually constructed to address all questions and queries that learners may have during the course. One can always go back and over the relevant part of the course if they are not clear about any concept.
Cheaper than Virtual Instructor-led Training: Most self-paced courses are more affordable than their instructor-led counterparts.
More Common and Accessible: Coming under the umbrella of e-learning, self-paced courses are generally more common, and accessible to the average learner. It is also the most common method of information consumption, currently.
Disadvantages of Self-Paced Courses
No Interaction between Instructors and Learners: This can be a hiccup in the way of understanding certain aspects of the course, especially if the training approach is not compatible with the learning approach.
Technological Hindrances: Since self-paced courses are pre-recorded on certain media, there might be compatibility issues in between said media and the learner’s software.
Longer Completion Times due to Zero Interaction: As there is no interaction present in this method, it usually takes longer to complete, as compared to courses where learners can ask questions to better understand learning points.
A "One Size Fits All" training approach will not work for all audience as it would require tailoring as per the IQ levels of the audience.
Virtual Instructor-Led Training
Following are the primary features and advantages of a self-paced course:
- Conducted by a Live Instructor: As the name suggests, this type of training features a live instructor delivering the information remotely, in real time. It brings the natural human element into the course, making it more natural to the typical human way of learning, as in a classroom.
- Interactive Learning Sessions: The inherent human element in the virtual instructor-led classroom leads to greater interaction between the instructors and learners, as well as among the learners. The former proves beneficial due to learners being able to ask questions and raise queries during the lessons.
- More Intricate Training Sessions: Virtual instructor-led training is usually more intricate, with more close details than their self-paced counterparts. This leads to them being on a higher level, in terms of advanced subjects and terminologies.
- High-Level Training: Virtual classrooms are usually reserved for the higher-level subjects. This is especially true in the Project Management Training Industry, where each subject and learning point has various levels of complication and intricacy. Subjects that are more advanced require more in-depth training, which is why instructor-led training is perfectly suited to it.
Advantages of Virtual Instructor-Led Training
Highly Detailed Courses: This course method is always more detailed and singular, which is good for a single subject that requires very in-depth training.
Tailored Explanations: This training method allows the trainee to request the trainer to simplify the concepts explained of the individual is unable to follow. The trainee will also get to request for examples related to the concepts for better understanding.
Better Return on Investment: It’s simple. You get what you pay for, and in the case of instructor led PMP training, you get better results in a condensed, shorter time frame as compared to self-study where people often start and stop their training, resulting in lower retention. Studies show that people retain more of their new knowledge and skills when learning from an instructor in an interactive session with them following a continuous flow of information.
Individual Attention to Participant Needs: If an instructor notices one or more participants is having specific problems, either in understanding some topic or in applying the learning to their particular situation, he/she will offer to help during breaks or after class. Unfortunately, a self-paced or pre-recorded course can’t read these types of body-language signs from participants to bridge their knowledge gaps.
Learning From Other Participants: Informal interaction with other participants, during the session is invaluable. While on-line discussion groups can offer opportunities for informal interaction, they cannot match the experience of interacting in a instructor-led virtual environment.
Ask questions and get immediate answers:One of the biggest advantages of using instructor-led training is it offers the ability to ask questions about what is covered in the current lecture, past lecture or pertaining to PMP Examination. Students are usually encouraged to ask questions. The instructor and fellow students can offer answers based on their valuable experiences.
Disadvantages of Virtual Instructor-Led Training
Consistent Presence is Mandatory: The learner cannot afford to leave the training session for whatever reason, since the training continues without stoppage. This is not always convenient for all learners.
More Expensive Training Method: IT Instructors are well-versed in the field, which leads to them commanding greater compensation, which ultimately makes the course more expensive.
Congratulations, you made it to the end of this rather long write-up.
In my opinion, virtual instructor-led training is ideal for PMP Aspirants as its more value for money and would motivate the trainee to complete the training as per the stipulated time frame.
If you are on the way to get your PMP Certification, I wish you every success for your exam. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you need any tips or guidance.
This article reflects my personal experiences and opinions. Your experience may be completely different, and you may not agree with a lot of things I wrote. Which is perfectly fine.