Monday, 9 May 2016

CPD DIY - Maguire e-Training: Project Management Essentials

CPD DIY is where I review quick, cheap, and accessible training courses and resources for school librarians. We are expected to keep up with the latest developments in libraries and keep our skills sharp with no time, no budget and no peace!

Maguire e-Training recently partnered with CILIP to offer discount training to library and information professionals so they are a good place to start when you're looking for some easy access, low cost, guided CPD. Maguire modules usually clock in at around £25 a pop, but if you're a CILIP member your first one is free and you can get a discount on later modules bringing them down to around £20.

Besides the cost, one of the great assets of Maguire's courses is that they are entirely online from teaching to testing meaning that they can be fitted around quiet times in your library – because god forbid we ever leave right?

Now to the meat of the thing:

Project Management Essentials is taught in a series of videos and info sheets, which I've got to admit I watched a couple of times over whilst doing other things, which though adorably 'home made' at times were really informative and helped my at least put names to some of the concepts I'd already employed running projects before. The teacher/seminar leader/ lecturer is pretty clear and concise and generally linked things together well – so long as you were paying close attention. While the info sheets ran through ideas in more detail and really helped to bring home some of the concepts.

I've got to admit here and now this course is very basic and the exam at the end wasn't exactly taxing, but as an easy and accessibly way of getting your head round a new topic it hits the spot, and it has certainly given me some new ideas of how to handle large and group projects more efficiently in the future.

More importantly in terms of how school libraries work - in my experience anyway - it also gave me a bit of sneaky insight into how to handle talking to management and 'stake holder groups', and just how to present things to get ideas through to these groups. How to present the 'cost/benefit ratios' of what you are proposing – like how yes a D.E.A.R might eat 10 minutes into lesson time, but the relative improvement seen in the results of students who read for 10 minutes a week is X grades. I think, having done this training, that this kind of presentation of data is possibly what we as librarians sometimes do worst, we talk ephemera to bean counters and expect them to become invested in our projects… something to think about anyway.

All in all, with Maguire you get what you pay for, it wouldn't be fair to expect more from this course at £25, but I can't say I feel gypped by what I did get out of it. Its a good solid run down of the essentials of project management, enough to get your head round the concepts and probably enough to help us manage any projects we'll be undertaking in a school setting.

Overall pretty good for the price and a good place to start for a total beginner.

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