Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Leicester Study Series: Project management module

This morning on the tube I finished reading through the booklet for the Leicester Study Series for professional development on project management so I thought I'd do a quick review. I should note that I haven't read the accompanying book yet, just the booklet.

Just a quick note first on what the Leicester Study Series - it's a series of modules put together by the department of Museum Studies at Leicester University to help people develop their skills in various areas of museum work. There are also modules on e-Learning (which I'll be hopefully going through soon as well) , evaluating learning, social inclusion and oral history. This module cost £57 including postage and packing.

The first good thing about the pack is it's size. For £57 you get a book on project management which I'm still working my way through, and an A5 spiralbound booklet. The booklet is just the right size for reading on the tube which is the only time I really have to do these things so that was ideal.

I thought that the price was a little steep for what you get. The book is only worth £11 ish and so the rest of the money goes towards the booklet. I appreciate that a lot of work went into it but I was a little disappointed by what I got for that price.

Another slight criticism is that the information in the booklet now feels a little dated (it was published in 2006). The case studies are at least 5-6 years old now and, since one featured my work place it was very obvious to me as a reader that the projects were now long past as all the individuals mentioned are in very different roles now. In addition, a section on promotion mentions only 'Putting up-to-date information about the project on the museum's website' and makes no mention of social media, highlighting for me the outdated nature of the module. I think the whole thing would benefit from a quick refresh.

I felt as well that the booklet focused a lot on grant-funded projects and the kinds of reporting that are needed for these. Evidently this is probably very useful for a lot of people, but since at present a lot of my projects are not grant funded, I personally found that focus slightly distracting.

I also thought, coming from a learning perspective, that there could have been more focus on Inspiring Learning for All, or at the very least, on establishing the learning outcomes for your project from the start, which makes evaluation, which the module covers in detail at the end, easier.

Aside from this I did get something out of the module. I would say it would be particularly useful for people in small museum with no experience of project management (the aims and objectives do state that it is aimed at 'people working in small to medium-sized museums'). For me, someone who is spending quite a lot of time at the moment researching best practice in project management, it served as a good reminder but didn't really teach me anything new.

I would say if you've just taken on a new role and are unfamiliar with one of the topics that the study series covers, and have a spare £60-odd to hand, then it is probably worth investing in one of these modules. They're probably quite a good idea as well for those of us following a CPD programme, simply because you can send off to Leicester for a certificate to prove that you've completed the module and a couple of short activities, thus giving you proof of your CPD activity.

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8 April 2010 at 12:39  
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8 April 2010 at 12:50  

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