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COMPETENCE-BASED LEARNING AND EVALUATION FOR PROJECT MANAGEMENT STUDENTS

In this paper we present a novel learning methodology for the development of Project Management (PM) competences. This methodology has been successfully applied on the practical module of the Master in Project Management of the University of Valladolid (Spain) over the last four terms.

As in most masters in PM, our practical module includes practical case studies in which students can apply the technical skills they learn within the theoretical lectures. However, what makes our methodology a novelty is the combination of a case of study with a continuous evaluation system based on competences that allows PM teachers to evaluate the technical, behavioural and contextual competences considered in the International Competence Baseline (ICB) model by the International Project Management Association (IPMA)

In the final version of the paper, we explain how we develop the methodology and the lessons we have learnt since we began to implement it. The teaching experience is developed in six months. Students work in teams, and they have to develop a complete project plan of a complex project. After the project plan is finished, we perform a simulation phase of the project, where different unexpected events take place.

From the point of view of students, the purpose of the exercise is to practice technical competencies like scheduling, risk and scope management, procurement, etc.; students are informed that their final score will strongly depends on the quality of the exercise. But from the point of view of teachers, the project plan exercise is only the excuse to cause a set of rich team dynamic experiences, including conflicts, work overload, changes in project context, etc., therefore students can develop their behavioural and contextual competences. Students experiment stressing situations in a controlled environment. They only know the real purpose of the exercise after the program has finished.

The percentage of students who succeed in the certification examinations by IPMA is the 100 %. Former students confirm that the experience has amazingly improved not only their project management skills, but their general managerial skills.