A Review of Project Management Course Syllabi to Determine if They Reflect the Learner-centred Course Pedagogy [Abstract]

Erastus Karanja, Donna M. Grant
InSITE 2019  •  2019  •  pp. 409-411
Aim/Purpose: Project Management (PM) capability is one of the skill sets that employers across a broad range of industries are seeking with a projected current talent deficit of 1.5 million jobs.
Background A course syllabus is both a tool and a resource used by the learners, the faculty, and the school to articulate what to learn, how to learn, and how and when to access and evaluate the learning outcomes. A learner-centred course syllabus can enhance the teaching, the learning, and the assessment and evaluation processes. A learner-centred pedagogy seeks to create a community of learners by sharing power between the teachers and the students, providing multiple assessments, evaluations, and feedback mechanisms.

Methodology: This study seeks to find out if the PM course syllabi reflect the attributes of a learner-centred pedagogy through a content analysis of 76 PM course syllabi gathered in 2018 from instructors affiliated with the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) in the USA.

Contribution: On the issue of PM content, only seven percent (7%) of the syllabi articulate that students would be involved in “real world” experiential projects or be exposed to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) areas and process groups.

Findings: The results reveal that PM instructors fall short in creating a community of learners by not disclosing their teaching philosophy, beliefs, or assumptions about learning and tend not to share power, and do not encourage teacher-student interactions.

Recommendations for Practitioners: Schools should try to align their programs both to the local and the national job markets by engaging PM practitioners as advisors. When engaged as ad-visors, PM practitioners provide balance and direction on curriculum design or redesign, emerging industry innovations, as well as avenues for internships and job opportunities.

Recommendation for Researchers: PM has various elements associated with entrepreneurship and management and is also heavily weighted towards the use of projects and technology, making it a good candidate for learner-centred pedagogy. However, researchers should explore this assertion further by comparing the attainment of learning outcomes and students’ overall performance in a learner-centred and a non-learner-centred PM course.

Impact on Society: To minimize this talent deficit individuals as well as the academy should invest in PM education and one approach that may increase the enthusiasm in the PM coursework is having a learner-centred pedagogy.

Future Research: Researchers should explore this line of research further by gathering syllabi from other regions such as the European Union, Asia, Africa, Australia, etc. as well as conduct a comparative study between these various regions in order to find if there are similarities or differences in how PM is taught.
project management, course syllabi, learner-centredness, AACSB, PMBOK
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