“One day my Prince will come”, they said. And so it did – in the form of a project management qualification.
A Bit About Me
Let’s get the self-indulgent stuff out of the way early.
I have been working in digital marketing with various agencies for over seven years. During this time I have been part of projects in many capacities – either as a team manager, or simply carrying out work packages. Project management is something I aspire to do professionally, so I thought pursuing this qualification would set me in good stead for the future, while also pushing me to reflect on and learn from mistakes made in the past.
One thing I have learned over the course of my career is that however well planned a project is, there are always opportunities for improvement. With this attitude embedded in the PRINCE2 framework, I felt that this was the best next step for me personally.
Enough of that now. Let’s talk about what it’s like to take part in ILX Group’s PRINCE2 Foundation course, e-learning style.
Once you have received your login, you can access the course content via your desktop computer or the ILX Player mobile app. You are then directed to the main menu screen, listing all eight sessions which you will complete on your journey:
• Course Introduction
• Overview and Principles
• PRINCE2 Themes – Part 1
• PRINCE2 Themes –Part 2
• Case Study
• Exam Technique
• Foundation Exam Simulator
These sections are separated out on the interface in the style of chapters, allowing you to navigate to each session when you feel ready. You don’t have to follow them in the correct order, though it’s very much recommended.
Every section is introduced by a presenter summarising what will be covered. The video is illustrated with colourful cartoon images that represent each role in a project, providing a great visual aid to help remember their responsibilities and part to play in the PRINCE2 framework.
During each session, after a new idea is taught, the accompanying video pauses to allow time for creating notes or referring to your manual. The course will only continue when you have clicked the ‘next’ arrow at the bottom of the screen. I found this helpful, as it was a great way of supporting the absorption of information.
Nearly without fail, shortly after a new point has been covered you will be tested with a multiple choice question and answer session. This is a useful way of reinforcing the information you have just learned, and as it follows the style of the exam paper it also prepares you for certification.
The convenience and ease-of-use with online learning, as well as the materials’ division by section, means that you can go back to review prior lessons when you need to. So if you got a particular multiple choice question wrong on Embedding PRINCE2, for example, you can go back to the previous slides to refresh your memory.
Personally, I crammed all the information I could about the PRINCE2 Foundation e-learning course over the Christmas holidays. As this was the time to see friends and family, I could take my laptop anywhere and cram in an hour or two’s work any place I needed to. I also found the new ILX Player app invaluable, enabling me to learn on the go regardless of whether I had an internet connection or not. I completed the whole course in 10 days.
The technique I employed was to go through all the video sessions once, referring to the manual for each section, before completing the test for which I scored 60% on my first attempt. The mock exam simulator shows you which questions in which session you answer incorrectly, which I used as a prompt to look back at that section and revise more. After that, I retook the mock exam in the simulator and achieved 80%, which is the mark that PRINCE2.com advise you to reach before attempting the real Foundation exam.
There were lots of aspects that made the online training style attractive to me. I was thankful for the variation between male and female narrators, both of which made engaging tutors. Another great feature was each session on the interface having a progress indicator, informing you of what percentage you had completed. With the added ability to pick up the session from where you left off (even when using the ILX Player app offline), it made cramming the course into your everyday life a much simpler prospect!
The narrating tutors regularly referred to the manual and specific sections of the text, which was valuable for establishing a base for any future learning. You don’t need to have a manual for Foundation. However, it is a necessary asset if you want to go to on to Practitioner, and nonetheless it really helped me to grasp the fundamentals of the PRINCE2 framework.
Other excellent additions to the e-learning platform included the PRINCE2-themed interactive games such as Snakes & Ladders, and a ‘snap’ style card game. These helped to make absorbing the information fun, solidifying relevant material in my mind before taking the exam. I also found that the free downloads offered on the PRINCE2.com website were extremely beneficial for teaching applicable processes.
In summary, as a result of this e-learning course I was able to study the philosophy and structure of PRINCE2 in manageable chunks, and at my own pace. With help from the Case Study module of the course, I am also able to more clearly understand the benefits, and methodology, of implementing PRINCE2. Since completing the training, I am now integrating PRINCE2 principles into my day-to-day work wherever I can – notably using ideas such as keeping a Daily Log and implementing Exception Plans. Increasingly, I look forward to an opportunity to take a full PRINCE2 approach in a project to bring about significant and effective change.