Planning a Learning Project

Careful planning, arranging, and tracking of a project's workflow
Made by PMIEF
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About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Collaboratively developing tasks, timelines, and plans for resources and team roles, as part of a whole project management plan or Work Plan

Method Components

Note: Though this micro-credential focuses on one phase of a learning project, it is best to have students complete a whole project and focus on the competencies involved in this particular phase of the project cycle in preparing your submission.

Effectively planning, organizing, and managing project activities requires a solid Work Plan – identifying team member roles, project tasks, timelines, resource requirements, etc. Breaking these planning efforts down into more bite-size components with Activity Trees, Project Calendars, Task Managers, and Project Managing Tools can help make project planning more visual, collaborative, and much easier to manage.

Planning a Learning Project elements:
(to see the graphic associated with the full project cycle, please download the full micro-credential.)

Suggested Preparation

Student project teams can brainstorm, discuss, and list the kinds of planning activities and tools they think would be most helpful in organizing their project work; they can then share and compare their lists.

Introducing the Planning Project Phase

Introducing, showing examples, and discussing four types of project planning activities and tools that students can use to help organize their learning project activities into a project Work Plan can be helpful:

  • Activity Trees: visually showing the breakdown of and relationships between deliverables, activities, tasks, and task owners
  • Project Calendars: a calendar of milestones and important tasks to begin or end, scheduled on a project calendar
  • Task Managers: to-do lists and Gantt-type charts assigning people, resources, and times for each task
  • Project Managing Tools: integrated tools that help manage the project work and communications among team members

Work Plan Activity Trees

Using post-it notes on flipcharts, or mind-mapping software tools, student project teams can create graphical Activity Tree hierarchies of the elements of the project work, including:

  • Major project deliverables in boxes at the bottom, or “trunks” of the tree chart
  • Branches up from the deliverable box to a series of related boxes representing a sequence of project activities and resources necessary to complete each deliverable
  • Then further branches going up to more boxes representing specific tasks needed to complete each of the activities

When the Activity Trees are completed, the team members can decide which of the tasks, activities, and deliverables they will responsible for completing in the Executing (Doing) phase of the project.

Work Plan Project Calendars

  • Student teams can create a Project Calendar to schedule and track all the important events and activities for the project (either on large poster paper with post-it notes, or in a software calendar app) and can include such items as major milestone dates (due dates for a large collection of activities and tasks to be completed), dates for completing deliverables and for each project phase to be completed, dates when team members will not be available, etc.
  • Additionally, each team member can create a personal project calendar (in a physical notebook or using a calendar app) that is coordinated with the overall Project Calendar

Work Plan Task Managers

  • Student teams can also use Task Managers, from simple paper or notebook to-do lists to free or low-cost online task manager apps that can be used on smartphones, tablets, and laptops (for example, Google Tasks, Apple Reminders, Evernote, Any.do, Wunderlist, Todoist, Toodledo, Doit, ToDo Cloud, HabitRPG, Swipes, and many more), send helpful reminders when certain tasks are due, and provide graphical visualizations of the work completed and the tasks to come, to help better manage one’s project time and tasks.

Work Plan Project Managing Tools

  • Student teams can also take advantage of free or very low-cost integrated online project managing tools that can be used on smartphones, tablets, and laptops (for example, Google Drive and Google Apps, Trello, Asana, GanttProject, FreedCamp, Azendoo, Evernote, Redbooth, Zoho Projects, Bitrix24, MeisterTask, and many more). From sharing documents and creating Gantt charts (that track the workflow of tasks and time) to providing ongoing project communications among project team members, new ways to plan and manage project work are making learning projects easier, more social, and much more visual.

Suggested Review Activities

  • Student teams can share their project Work Plans and tools with other teams, get their feedback, and incorporate suggestions into their planning work.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

Project planning is key to having successful learning projects – thinking through the flow of project activities, tasks, schedules, resource needs, etc., and having a set of common visual records in a Work Plan that includes both project plans and the tracking of project work being done, can leave much more time for deeper learning and quality improvements on all project work.

  • Project Management Institute Educational Foundation. “Foundational Guide – Project Management for Learning.” pmief.org., PMIEF, 27 May 2014. Web. 15 Oct. 2015
    http://bit.ly/1QhP6j3
  • Heagney, Joseph. Fundamentals of Project Management. Fourth ed. New York: AMACOM, 2011. Print.
    http://amzn.to/1T4RYmS

Resources

Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

Following are the items to submit and the criteria by which they will be evaluated. In each category an applicant can earn 3, 2 or 1 points. To earn a micro-credential an applicant must earn at least 17 points and cannot receive a score of 1 in more than one category (see scoring rubric below).

Part 1. Educator Overview questions

(200-word limit for each response)

  • Activity Description: What kind of project activities did you and your students engage in to become more proficient in applying the project planning strategies to improve learning and project success? Please describe the learning activities and strategies you used.
  • Activity Evaluation: How do you know your students increased their proficiency by engaging in the Planning a Learning Project activities, and what evidence did you collect that demonstrates these learning gains?

Part 2. Student Work Examples/Artifacts

Please submit examples of student work from two students (writing, audio, images, video, etc.) that demonstrate progress toward the Planning a Learning Project competency.

Part 3. Student reflections

(200-word limit for each response)

For the two students whose work examples were included above, submit their student-created reflections on the Planning a Learning Project activities they experienced. Use the following questions as guidance:

  • How did the planning project cycle activities and planning documents and tools help you be a better project team member and enable your team to produce better project results?
  • How did the planning project cycle strategies change your views on how projects work and how you can use projects to motivate your learning in the future?

Part 4. Educator reflection

(200-word limit for each response)

Provide a reflection on what you learned, using the following questions as guidance:

  • What was the impact of engaging your students in the Planning a Learning Project activities?
  • How will experiencing these project activities shape your daily future teaching practice?

Submission Guidelines and Evaluation criteria scoring rubric

This scoring rubric reflects each of the submission guidelines described above, and passing criteria for each. To see this rubric, please download the full version of the micro-credential.

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Requirements

Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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