edu627: An Overview of Project Management

This is the first blog post of a four part series for edu627 Managing Instruction & Technology. As we look at how instructional design and project management overlap, let us first examine the essential elements of project management and how it relates to technology.

Cox (2009) defines a project as “temporary…undertaken to create a unique product, service or result, and has characteristics that are developed incrementally as the initiative progresses” (p.2).  Projects have a distinct beginning and end and are a way to execute strategic objectives (Cox, p. 7).  Emphasis on the ADDIE instructional systems development model consist of: Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. In accordance with this is the Four-Step Combo which consists of 1. Initiation, 2. Planning, 3. Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and 4. Closing.  With minimal previous exposure to these models, I found them both to be clear and rational approaches to planning for and solving problems.

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(Picture taken from Flickr with permission)

Of particular interest was the consideration of stakeholders and the role that they play within a project as well as the focus on the analysis portion of planning a project.  As Cox explains “The findings of the needs analysis reveal the gap in knowledge and skill and the decision is made to design, develop, and deliver a learning solution to close the identified gaps” (2009, p.16).  Further investigation allowed us to learn about Human Performance Technology (HPT) which essentially provides an analysis of the current state with a focus on identifying performance gaps and creating a plan to eliminate them (“International society for performance”).  Key components of HPT are: it focuses on outcomes or results, helps to determine causes and needs, and helps identify plausible solutions (“International society for performance”).

With these highlights in mind, it’s important to illustrate how valuable this new information has become for me in such a short amount of time. As in instructional technology specialist I have surprisingly had little formal exposure to project management although many of the projects I have been involved with have shared similar qualities of the ADDIE model in particular. After just one week I have a much better understanding of the analysis portion, value of surveying as well as clearly identifying your target audience and stakeholders.  As I began to outline a potential culminating project for this course, I was clearly more versed in the language of project management as well as the logical process by which problems within an organization can be identified, executed and evaluated.  This new knowledge will help me answer an important question for my district: what type of digital learning environment do we want to offer our students and teachers for the next five years?  So stay tuned for the second part to the series where I hope to share more about my project and new learning from our course readings.

Extend your Learning:

This short TED Talk is not a typical one you might find related to project management class however I think it contains several of the ADDIE model characteristics and it is a sensational example of how technology can enhance learning for all children across the globe.  Listen to Sugata Mitra here.

And try EVERNOTE for managing projects and sharing almost anything digital with your stakeholders.  It’s free and easy to use.  Visit evernote.com today!

References:

Cox, D. (2009). Project management skills: A practical guide. New York: iUniverse.

International society for performance improvement. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ispi.org/content.aspx?id=54

Mitra, S. (2010, September). Sugata mitra: The child-driven education. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_the_child_driven_education.html

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