In this environment, where businesses are strapped for cash, it isn’t always easy to convince your boss that you should go on a project management training course. So if you get a positive response and send off your enrolment paperwork, you really should look at what you can do to capitalise on that training and make the most of it.
You’ll get joining instructions for your course which you should read (and make sure you follow any instructions), but on top of that there are some things that you can do before, during and after your experience in the classroom to get the most out of it and the best value for money.
Training can, after all, be expensive, so think about what you can do to maximise the investment that your company is making in you.
And if you are paying for the training yourself this becomes even more important!
Here are 3 ways that you can maximise your commitment to project management training.
1. Before: Do Your Pre-Course Work
Most courses will require you to do some reading or to complete a workbook of exercises before you come to the classroom. You’ll get instructions about what to do in advance, but you’d be surprised at how many delegates then arrive at the venue without having completed (or even started) their pre-course work.
You’ll get more out of your training if you are up to speed when the course starts. You’ll also find the other delegates more forgiving, because you won’t be asking questions that you should have covered off in the pre-course reading!
2. During: Do Your Homework
If your course runs over several days it is likely that the trainer will give you homework to do. This could involve reading ahead in the manual or course pack for the following day, taking practice tests in advance of the real thing (if it’s a course that leads to an exam) or completing worksheets or exercises.
You may be referring to these materials first thing the next day so if you don’t complete the homework you’ll be at a disadvantage during the first session. When you book your course, make sure that you keep your evenings free – even if there isn’t homework, you’ll probably find it useful to read over your notes or simply relax and let your brain unwind in anticipation of learning lots of new things tomorrow.
3. After: Follow Up At Work
Your training doesn’t end when you get back to the office. There is, of course, a risk that you don’t put anything you have learned into practice and the benefit of the training is lost. Try to avoid this at all costs, otherwise you’ll look back in 6 months and wonder why you took 3 or 4 days out of the office to bother to go on a classroom course at all.
As you leave the classroom, reflect on what you can put into practice immediately and what will take a bit longer to implement. Create some implementation plans so that you can use what you have learned, and if you need the help of others to do this, get them involved.
Talk to your manager or colleagues about what you have learned and how you will put this into practice. Schedule time in your diary to review your course notes. It does take additional work – it’s far easier to turn up to the office and do exactly what you did before, but you won’t get any benefit from that approach.
If you want to maximise your investment and get the best out of your time away from your desk, give yourself the best possible chance of changing your behaviour by spending time before, during and after your training on working on benefiting from your course as much as you.