published on 07/09/2016 by John Edmonds

“Just sit there and listen” - Not on our courses!


John Edmonds
John Edmonds Head of Training

I’m often asked why we design and deliver our PRINCE2 Practitioner courses in the way we do.” Why is your course designed this way?”, people enquire (see, I told you that’s what happens).

Before I explain why, let me just briefly explore what we do, and what other training organisations do.

A PRINCE2 Practitioner course (and in fact other similar courses – Managing Successful Programmes, Change Management, Management of Risk and so on) typically takes place over 5 days, so it fits nicely into a 5-day working week. This is pretty much the case no matter who your training provider is.

Included in these five days are the two PRINCE2 examinations, the Foundation and the Practitioner, taken in that order as a pass at Foundation is a prerequisite for sitting the Practitioner.

A very typical model that many organisations follow is to spend the first three days teaching PRINCE2 to Foundation level, with the Foundation exam then following in the afternoon of day 3. Some people, who only want a Foundation qualification, will leave at this point. The remaining delegates will then spend day 4 attempting to achieve Practitioner level understanding, usually by ‘cramming’ - working through sample question after sample question The Practitioner exam then follows sometime on the final day.

This ‘3+2’ model is good commercially for the training provider as it allows them to appeal to both Foundation only delegates as well as Practitioner ones. But does it serve the customer well? I actually think not. Let me explain.

The focus of this design is on the two exams and on them only. There is a 3-day scamper through the whole PRINCE2 method with the emphasis being on the knowledge that you required to succeed in the exam on the third day. That is followed by what can be a very dull day of sample papers on day 4. Again, the emphasis is on exam preparation.

Now, there is nothing wrong in exam preparation, we include that as a thread within our course. But if that is all you are doing throughout the week you can almost certainly be missing the bigger picture. That bigger picture is an exploration of what PRINCE2 actually is, how it works, and how it can usefully be implemented. We think those are essential elements of a PRINCE2 course.

You get a 3-day course, and then you get a 2-day course. Both essentially exam-focused events. But you do not get an overall 5-day understanding of PRINCE2. 3 + 2 does not always add up to 5!

So, what do we do that’s different?

Ours is a fully integrated course. It is a Practitioner course from the first day. Being a Practitioner is about more than knowledge (Foundation level); it is about understanding, about the ability to apply PRINCE2, to interpret it in the context of real-world projects. You cannot achieve that by one day of exam cramming. That requires application, it comes about through discussion, through questioning how the method works in the presence of a highly qualified and skilled coach, with interaction and thoughtful conversation.

That is what we try to provide on our PRINCE2 Practitioner course. It’s fully integrated, meaning that we do not separate the course out into first a Foundation course, then a step up to Practitioner level. As I say, it is Practitioner level from the start. As a result, delegates will ‘pick-up’ Foundation level knowledge as we travel through the first 4 days at Practitioner level. Then, on the afternoon of day 4, the Foundation exam is taken, followed by the Practitioner exam on day 5.

We use a range of styles of learning, both individual and group, that will appeal to the full range of learning preferences. We include sample papers, and so much more. We encourage questions and discussion; no “sit there and listen” only on our courses.

We want delegates to leave our PRINCE2 course with a real understanding of the method and with the ability to actually apply it intelligently on their projects. And yes, we want them to succeed in the exams as well, but not just that. We want to see PRINCE2 used on real projects, and not be simply a qualification badge that has little or no practical application.

If you share that aim, then maybe pearcemayfield is right for you. Why not give us a call to find out more?

John Edmonds
September 2016