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PRINCE2 Training: Classroom vs. Online

Over the past few months, we invited two of our customers to act as guest bloggers and tell our readers about their experiences with PRINCE2 classroom and PRINCE2 online/e-learning training courses. Both candidates came away satisfied with their course. One, a novice to project management, achieved a PRINCE2 Practitioner qualification within five days. The other accrued enough fundamental knowledge that it could be readily applied in their management of projects and other day-to-day work.

At ILX Group, we’re proud of all the varieties of training course that we provide. We believe that we offer some of the best computer-based online self-study solutions in the world, created by specialists in learning development, subject matter experts and multimedia strategists. We’re not shy about the quality of our classroom courses either, with invaluable face-to-face instruction coming from adept teachers who are well-versed in their subjects, both as instructors and practiced professionals.

Our guest bloggers did a great job providing some insights into what to expect from either style of learning. However, we appreciate it can be difficult to know which is the best option, especially as there are similar exam pass rates across both styles worldwide. As a result, we have decided to compile some lessons and observations into one post for you, directly comparing the advantages and drawbacks of the classroom and the e-learning options.

Selling Points and Hidden Benefits

The two offerings – classroom and online – are going to be distinct in many obvious ways. For example, you should know that online study means learning at your own pace, using a mobile phone, tablet, desktop or laptop computer to access course materials remotely. What’s not always so clear is what this can mean for the student in practical terms.

Take the example of e-learning further. Many will look at this option as, primarily, a happy convenience when compared to the classroom course’s five days of instruction which threatens to use up the whole working week. But how many people see that extra time afforded, and twelve months’ access to e-learning materials, as an opportunity to achieve a higher, more thorough understanding of the subject? There’s only so much information you can cram within a five day workshop. With e-learning, you can sit your exam when you’re ready – not just when you feel you can pass the exam, you can qualify when you feel you have personally grasped the subject’s nuances enough to confidently apply its principles.

On the other hand, many people feel they know what to expect of a classroom course, having experienced this style of learning a lot over years of schooling and other employment-related training. Some feel they will benefit from learning within the dynamic of a group, or by receiving direct instruction. Others may think the opposite, signing on to an online course straight away, confident in their own ability to master the subject. However, they may not realise the missed extra value provided by ILX’s tutors, who – using their years of experience in training and in their fields – are able to supply tailored knowledge applicable to the projects and scenarios of classroom attendees.

Clearly, then, both styles offer distinct pros and cons. But what you classify as a positive or negative is going to vary according to your preferences and your personality. That’s why we are going to offer a breakdown of both options, covering the basics, and some of the subtleties, in the differences between them.

Breaking Down Classroom vs. E-learning

PRINCE2 online/e-learning training:

• Provides remote learning options, allowing access to study materials anytime, anywhere, for a whole year.

• Allows you to learn at your own pace, absorbing knowledge at a speed, and to an extent, that will best suit you and your requirements.

• Offers little to no interaction with peers, although support is on hand when you need it, accessible by phone and online.

• Has been carefully designed by a talented board of experts to provide a functional and memorable multimedia experience.

• Gives the added benefit of exam simulators, allowing you to test your knowledge and gauge your readiness for qualification.

• Can be readily tailored to your organisation’s specifications.

• Presents the more affordable of the two options, but …

• Requires a degree of discipline, dedication and time management to complete. Without these there is no guarantee of the course’s completion or efficacy.

• Compared to classroom courses, though, there is no three-day allocation needed to complete it.

PRINCE2 classroom training:

• Provides intensive two, three or five day classroom options.

• Allows for all of the purchased learning and examinations to be completed within the same timeframe, meaning accelerated qualification but at the cost of a demanding workload.

• Offers opportunities for peer interaction and networking, so you can learn from and discuss with others, as well as witness a wide range of PRINCE2 applications.

• Features instruction by tutors with years of relevant experience in their subject and in their field of project management.

• Adds extra value with tutors able to provide information specific to the student’s business or project environment, as well as tips specific to the examination you’re sitting.

• Can also be tailored to your company, or even brought to your doorstep for in-house training or consulting.

• Presents the more expensive of the two options, and there are extremely high pass rates for classroom attendees to show for the added expense, but…

• There is a chance you are paying more for a guaranteed and accelerated qualification, rather a promise of applicable knowledge with only five days (or less) to absorb everything.

• May present the strongest option for Practitioner-level study because the exam has a more challenging format than Foundation, and ILX tutors can provide invaluable information to aid in their completion.

Conclusion

Hopefully the above breakdown gives some useful indicators of the strengths and benefits of each type of course to those who currently favour either approach to learning. Convenient as it sounds, e-learning training may not be the best choice for those who doubt their ability to manage their time and enforce strict study hours. There have been those who purchased e-learning training, for instance, then failed to act upon it and never sought certification. There are those who work well alone and may feel they won’t benefit from the added interaction and networking gained through workshop-style learning. Yet the more formal classroom environment can still assist them to reach a level of focus they might not otherwise manage.

It’s wise, therefore, to think carefully about your approach to learning before investing in either option. You are the person best placed to know which variety best meets your expectations, your needs and your attitude to studying. If you need more information, feel free to contact us and we’ll provide what we can to help you make your choice. For those who remain on the fence, though, there’s always the chance for compromise. Why not investigate a training course that offers a combination of the best of both worlds, the style we call Blended Learning?