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Experiential learning in a postgraduate project management programme

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States that experiential learning, action learning and action research have long been recognized as among the most effective means of acquiring professional education and training. Few tertiary programmes, however, choose to give attention to such "learning by doing", giving emphasis instead to traditional lecturing and information gathering (highly analytical) approaches. One programme which takes a strong experiential learning approach is the postgraduate project management course conducted at the Queensland University of Technology. The project management course recognizes and aims to develop the technical, financial and legal knowledge and skills, and the specialist people knowledge and practical process skills required to practise effectively as a project manager. Shared expertise comes from the host School of Construction Management and from the School of Social Science. Describes the course and indicates a balance given in training to the academic analytical requirements and to the use of experiential learning and self-development exercises. These include indoor exercises aimed at developing knowledge of options, the use of questionnaires and the use of outdoor exercises at off-campus camps aimed at developing self- and other-awareness. Roughly 40 per cent of the course is taught through a mix of experiential and lecturing presentation; the remaining 60 per cent is more traditional in the teaching of the legal and other technical and financial requirements. Discusses the success of the experiential approach for teaching the people side of project management.
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Keywords: Action learning; Action research; Experiential learning; Project management; Training

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1996-04-01

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