1 Valmennuskeskus Public (FINLAND)
2 Laurea University of Applied Sciences (FINLAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2017 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 1077-1084
ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.0364
Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain
This paper explores the experiences of project manager training program developed by Laurea University of Applied Sciences (hereinafter: Laurea UAS), Finland. The training program is meant for professionals at Laurea UAS to increase the competence of project managers who are responsible of externally funded research and development (R & D) projects. The focus of this research is to highlight experiences and impact as well as address challenges identified in project managers´ work.

Collaboration between higher education institutions and companies, entrepreneurs and funding organizations has gained increasing importance in R&D projects from practical, managerial and scientific perspectives. At the moment Laurea UAS is running around 70 externally funded projects and a third of employees at Laurea UAS are somehow involved in R&D projects. This has made radical changes to the working culture when compared with the traditional working culture of higher education institutions: complexity and uncertainty has started to play an increasingly big role in projects and project environments. Thus successful organizations need to take care of its employees and their ability to manage chaos, which can be caused by participating different kinds of projects.

The purpose of this paper is to describe the experiences and lessons learned at Laurea UAS from it´s project manager training program. The program was piloted 2016-2017 for around 40 participants representing educated professionals as teachers and project experts to increase project management competence. Around four participants were interviewed after every training module in order to clarify the efficiency of each module and to figure out how participatory learning methods could help project managers to develop their competence. The total number of research participants was 20.

The research questions were: Which competencies project managers feel they need to learn most? What sort of content in project manager training program would best endorse the development of project management competencies? How participatory learning methods used in training could motivate participants?

The participants of the training program engaged in creating each module by giving their feedback and defining their wishes for the content of the modules. The trainers of the modules used participatory methods and kept the learning atmosphere open for constant reciprocal discussion.

The results of the interviews showed that workplace learning is a complex but fruitful thing to organize. The participants saw that the most important thing in project manager training program was networking with other colleagues who are involved with the projects as well. Most of them also thought that having constructive dialogues with others helped them to learn and achieve personal learning goals. Based on the research, it can be evaluated that the impact of the training on competence development was remarkable, and the training increased the quality of the project management work at Laurea UAS.
Cooperation between Higher Education Institution and Industry, workplace learning, Research, Development and Innovation (RDI), Project Manager Training.