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Online training for PMQ and PFQ - does it work?

29 May 2020

The MSC started its webinars six years ago, so was able to launch its new online PFQ and PMQ courses with confidence. What have we learnt from our first few courses?

1. Many delegates are waiting for classroom courses to restart rather than enrol on an online course.

2. Webinars do provide excellent interaction between tutor and delegate in a manner missing in the recorded podcasts.

3. Webinars must be backed up by paper-based Study Guides as they still seem to be the preferred method of private study.

4. Session schedules and structure need to be changed to avoid leaving delegates as screen zombies. Webinars are not filmed versions of a classroom presentation.

Rather than wait for classroom training to resume, try online - it may surprise you how good it is!

What works best online? We believe it is the interaction between tutor and delegates - dealing with queries, providing feedback - this is what is missing from the podcasts and is a big strength of online webinars. Workshops, tutorials - dealing with individual problems - must be central, particularly for the PMQ training.

Does the webinar software used by the MSC help do this? It allows:

  • Streamlined Registration - starts on time with easy registration.
  • Effortless Collaboration and Sharing - allows everyone to view slides/videos and work together on documents - highlighting or using pointers.
  • Distribution of Course Materials - share handouts, notes and more, simply and efficiently.
  • Small-Group Interaction - breakout empowers learners to collaborate with and learn from one another.
  • Evaluation of Knowledge Retention - multiple-choice tests to identify areas that need further explanation.

Delegates still seem to prefer studying with paper-based Study Guides. So we have to ensure that both Study Guides and additional material like sample papers are sent out well in advance to allow study prior to the webinars.

Webinars have been reduced to 75 minutes in length. Two are held each morning separated by a coffee-break. The afternoons and evenings are reserved for private study. If delegates miss a webinar, they can attend a later one or watch the recording.

Transport for London in its Briefing for businesses - 20 May 2020 - stated:
“Given the national requirement to maintain two metres distance between passengers wherever possible, the capacity on the Tube and buses will be reduced to around 13-15 per cent, even once services are back to full strength. This of course means transport must operate very differently.”

Changing the daily training schedule in central London to order to avoid rush-hour travel is one way to reduce transport problems. However whilst the two-metre restriction remains in place, it may still prove difficult for delegates to reach the venue safely and on time.

So it may be wise to plan on an extended period where online training is the most efficient and effective way to train for the professional qualifications from the APM.