At the IATEFL conference in two weeks from today I will be doing a workshop about project management and specifically training project management online. This week (here) I will endeavour to create some context for that workshop and discuss some of the things that I will be talking about there.
One of the areas of management that appears to have got the most attention in recent years, and certainly in my experience, is project management. My first post-MA job was as an educational project manager, and since that time I have been managing, participating in and consulting on various large and small scale projects around the world. From Brazil to Nepal, Micronesia to the European Union.
But where I see the need most clearly is in my work as a trainer. When the IDLTM was created, for example, we wrote in 6 core modules and 2 “local” modules, which the centre offering the course could propose. I’m 99% sure that in every single version of the course that has so far run, one of those two modules has been project management. In addition, as time goes on, I find that more and more I am asked to do workshops and seminars on project management – it’s not that this is the only thing, but is does seem to be currently very fashionable, and, I am increasingly seeing, necessary.
More and more people are involved in project work, more and more organisations are tending towards an internal project approach to running things (sort of like Handy’s task culture), and more and more language teaching organisations are seeing external project work as a way to diversify their income streams. And there is a lot to learn about how to design, run and participate in projects. And, I would argue, it’s increasingly something that is not just for managers – in many language teaching and other educational organisations I’m familiar with – everyone is involved in projects.
Projects internally can be a way of effecting change, of creating teams, and of making the organisation function better. Externally, they can create opportunities for networking, build new sources of income, and create partnerships across organisations and even across borders. Anyone working in education in the EU for example, really ought to be aware of the tremendous opportunities available for very interesting and innovative work through the European Commission’s various funds.
All in all, then, I feel like I have a great deal of experience in project management and in teaching project management and design over the years. It’s this experience I will be drawing from in my session at the conference, and in talking about how I’ve had to change from teaching it more or less entirely face to face, to doing it in a more blended format, to now where I am doing a lot of purely online project management training.
Tomorrow I’ll talk about some of the skills involved in project management and design and then later in the week, about how I have tried to approach teaching those skills in an online format.