زمینه های مهم و حساس یادگیری در آموزش مدیریت پروژه : مفاهیمی برای یادگیری تلفیقی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|3312||2012||9 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||7626 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Project Management, Volume 30, Issue 2, February 2012, Pages 153–161
This research examines the underlying reasons why students taking project management courses emphasise skills that are transferable and the utilisation of e-learning environments as critical to their learning experiences. Students' opinions are expressed through a series of focus groups. We found that the underlying reasons for students' emphasis on these two factors as crucial to learning and teaching project management could be classed under five higher-order themes. The implications of our findings are that in order to develop desired human, conceptual and technical skills, a teaching approach based on a blend of learning that resides at the intersection of the ‘transferable skills’ and ‘e-learning environments’ construct is required for the effective teaching of project management. For effectiveness, this blended form of andragogy (learning focused on adults) must be flexible enough to cater for the vast variations in the profiles of students, and their individual learning preferences.
1.1. The people element of project management Project management is one of the most popular and widely applied transformational management systems and techniques in existence (Lenfle and Loch, 2010). The objective of project management is to deliver complex requirements by employing methods and tools to bring about the successful delivery of an output. The popularity of project management lies in its ability to ensure ‘control’ (Bryde, 2003 and Hobday, 2000), particularly of work of a discontinuous nature, which is generally associated with an unpredictable level of change in the business environment (Hodgson, 2004). Although success in this case is primarily defined by the ability to ensure that the objective of the endeavour is completed (within an agreed budget, on time, and to an acceptable quality), the reality is that most scholars (Calisir and Gumussoy, 2005, Dvir and Lechler, 2004 and Lenfle and Loch, 2010) and practitioners (Glass, 1999) regard the rate of project failure as too high. Numerous scholars including Raheb, 1992, Chong, 1993, Zimmerer and Yasin, 1998, El-Sabaa, 2001, Rudolph et al., 2008, Ojiako et al., 2011 and Chipulu et al., 2011 attribute project failure rates to human factors such as poor leadership in projects. For example, Raheb (1992) suggests that 70% of projects (surveyed in Canada) failed due to people factors. Chong (1993) on the other hand estimates that up to 60% of project failures (surveyed in Malaysia) were due to human factors. Specific to the leadership role of project managers, Zimmerer and Yasin (1998) estimated that up to 67% of projects that fail are due to poor leadership on projects. Furthermore, research from practitioners found that problems with people skills significantly contributed to project complexity within the aerospace industry (Azim et al., 2010). They contend that in order for project management to be truly successful, there is a need to take a more holistic approach and that people product and process are all of equal importance in contributing to an effectiveness. 1.2. Project management competency for managers Project manager development focuses on how relevant skills, ideas and knowledge can be imparted to practitioners working in the field of project management (Crawford et al., 2006). Project manager development can be undertaken through training or through education; (i) training and (ii) education. Training generally focuses on being able to ensure that staff develops behaviour which is both desirable and aligned to the perceived values of the firm (Currall and Epstein, 2003); it is usually a one-off event (Cannon-Bowers et al., 1991) that seeks to specify a ‘right’ way (Garavan, 1997) of undertaking a specific action. Training can either involve formal or informal forms of instruction (Antonacopoulou, 1999). Formal training programme may in some cases be built around structured and codified procedures which exist within the firms (Inkpen and Currall, 2004). Informal training on the other hand may be socially constructed and unconsciously, built around relationships which exist between staff (Davila, 2005). Project management may also take the form of formal education programmes, which may lead to the award of diploma and degree programmes (Kloppenburg and Baucus, 2004 and Walker, 2008). Although the popularity or usefulness of project management is not questionable (Hobday, 2000), reasons suggested for the high rate of project failure and protracted complexity relate to a perception among scholars that project managers (i) do not have an appropriate level of desired transferable (generic) competencies and people skills to deal with the complexities of modern projects (Azim et al., 2010 and Geoghegan and Dulewicz, 2008); (ii) that no standard or recognisable development paths are in place for project management practitioners (Thomas and Mengel, 2008); (iii) that clarity is lacking on the desired generic or transferable competencies and skills that project managers require beyond what is at best an “extensive shopping list” (Cheng et al., 2005 and Thomas and Mengel, 2008), although as McLoughlin and Luca (2002) claim, support is readily available to enable those studying project management to achieve these skills, and that (iv) only limited amount of research has been conducted on the relationship between andragogy1 and project management skills that can be taught or learnt ( Chipulu et al., 2011, Du et al., 2004 and Ojiako et al., 2011). Project management practitioners are therefore, in the words of Thomas and Mengel, “left to choose among these lists based on their own best judgement”.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The researchers set out to contextually clarify results from previous studies where students reported the significance of two factors, ‘transferable skills’ and ‘e-learning environments’, in learning the subject. As this study has demonstrated, the implication is that management practise as currently taught in higher educational establishments is still failing to exploit technology to support the replication of complex realities of the project environment. At a macro level, higher education institutions now need to focus on how technology can be used as a transitional tool to promote learning. This study has limitations. For example, although theoretical development utilises management literature, due to a desire to ensure historical links to earlier empirical studies, this study sample is derived from the same student cohort as in earlier studies conducted by Ojiako et al., 2011 and Chipulu et al., 2011. In the second place, noting that earlier findings from Ojiako et al. (2011) had rejected the hypothesis that gender significantly influenced rankings of either the ‘transferable skills’ and ‘e-learning environments’ constructs by the student cohort, we did not feel that it was necessary to take gender into consideration during the organisation of the focus groups. The reality, however, is that numerous studies suggest that transferable skills (Nabi and Bagley, 1999) and use of e-learning environments (Shaw and Marlow, 1999) are moderated by gender. Secondly, a manipulation check on whether the students had read the results of earlier works was not undertaken. This was considered unnecessary as the students participating in the focus group study came from the same cohorts who were sampled as part of the two earlier studies. Although it is acknowledged that — bias in students' responses, a check in bias was introduced by ensuring that the answer sheets were anonymised. Secondly, in this case, as the lead researcher conducted the focus, it is possible that the student focus group participants might have been biassed towards their perceptions of what findings the researchers anticipated. In this case, the presence of a second unrelated researcher might have been necessary to counter this limitation. To facilitate the generalisation of the results in a teaching and learning context, future studies intend to expand the studies by examining similar concepts with a different cohort of students. For example, the authors are currently utilising optimal scaling studies to examine how considerations of future andragogy will impact on the experience of engineering students studying project management. The overall implications of our findings are that, in order to develop desired human, conceptual and technical skills, what is required for the effective teaching of project management is a teaching approach based on a blend of learning that resides at the intersection of the ‘transferable skills’ and ‘e-learning environments’ construct. For effectiveness, this blended form of teaching and learning must be flexible enough to cater for the vast variations in the profiles of students, and their individual learning preferences. (Harris et al., 2010). Finally, it is our position that a new teaching philosophy of project management that blends ‘transferable skills’ and ‘e-learning environments’ constructs will make a significant contribution to the project management teaching and learning agenda. Here blended learning does not refer to simply overlaying existing face-to-face teaching with teaching material uploaded onto Internet-based course management systems. Such an approach will simply result in additional costs as the fully functionality of these systems remains unexploited. It also will result in both increased workload for instructors and anxiety for students. Perhaps, most importantly, such usage may actually be detrimental to effective teaching and learning. What must be noted is that blended learning must be augmented by a re-design of not only the course (modules) curriculum, but also entire programmes. Other considerations which must be addressed include infrastructure (for example, class room design and layout). Although not a focus of our research, the fact that there has been increasing interest in what and how classroom design would maximise learning (Long and Ehrmann, 2005) must be emphasised. It is also clear from earlier findings by Wirth (1992) that lectures who remain the most suitable form of instruction in project management, need to be updated. There are of course practical teaching and learning challenges for project management, especially due to its increasing popularity. There has also been an associated jump in the number of students taking project management courses and programmes. It may therefore be that in order to drive the curriculum towards a blended approach, project management courses and programmes may need to be designed to support smaller group interactions. This is perhaps where technology through course management systems such as Blackboard may play a crucial role.