Monitoring and Controlling a Learning Project

Monitoring and improving the project work, teamwork, and learning through all phases of a student learning project
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About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Regularly reviewing and coming up with ways to get a project back on track and improve work products, project processes, and what is learned in each phase of a learning project.

Method Components

[Note: Since this micro-credential focuses on monitoring, controlling, and improving activities throughout a learning project, it is best to have students complete a whole project and, during each phase of the project, apply the specific activities outlined below and capture the evidence needed – this will help in preparing a more complete submission.]

The foundation for effective managing of learning projects is the Project Cycle, which consists of five key phases, including the ongoing monitoring and controlling throughout all the phases. The industry-standard Project Management Institute terms for these phases and the alternative informal names for these Project Cycle elements frequently used by educators are:
(To see this table please download the full version of the micro-credential)

Monitoring and reviewing project accomplishments in each phase of the project cycle – Initiating (Defining), Planning, Executing (Doing), and Closing (Reviewing) – helps improve project results, team processes,
and each student’s learning.

[Note: There are additional PMIEF Micro-credentials that explore each of these four project phases in more depth.]

Having students check in on their ongoing work, review their progress, record their reflections on how things are going, and share their ideas on what can be done to get a project back on track or improve project work and learning in each project phase contributes to better results and more successful learning projects.

Suggested Preparation

Student project teams can brainstorm, discuss, and list ways they can monitor, review, and improve their progress in each of the four phases of a learning project – Initiating (Defining), Planning, Executing (Doing), and Closing (Reviewing); they can then share and compare their results.

Project Progress Check-ins

There are three important things worthy of regular (at least once a week) monitoring, review, and improvement throughout a learning project. These are the “Three Legs of the Project Progress Stool”:

One of the best ways to monitor and ensure good progress in a project is to have regular “check-in” meetings (face-to-face or virtual) during each project phase, with each team member reflecting on where they are in the project by completing the blanks in the following statements and reporting them to the team:

  • Project Work Quality – “I am currently working on ____________________, and my work on this could be better if I __________________________.”

    Also, if a project isn’t going as planned – “We weren’t able to do __________________________ as planned, so we found another way to get that done by _______________________, so we can still get things done on time (or adjust the schedule by _________________).”
  • Project Team Processes – “The best part of our teamwork recently was ____________________, and it could be better if we ___________________________.”
  • Project Learning Gains – “I have learned a lot about ________________________, and I need to learn more about __________________________ to help our project and my own learning.”

The responses can be recorded on a Check-in Chart or an online fill-in table, such as one like this:
(To see this table please download the full version of the micro-credential)

Examples of the kinds of Current Work team members would be working on in each project phase (detailed descriptions of these are included in the Managing the Learning Project Cycle micro-credential) include:

  • Initiating (Defining): Project Definition, Team Agreement, List of Stakeholders, Project Roles, etc.
  • Planning: Project Management Plan, Work Plan, Work Breakdown Structure, Schedules, etc.
  • Executing (Doing): Progress Updates & Revisions, Resource Needs, Work Quality Reviews, etc.
  • Closing (Reviewing): Evaluations of Project Results, Project Team Processes, Project Learning, etc.
  • Monitoring & Controlling (Monitoring): Monitoring the Monitoring and Controlling process itself!

Implementing Improvement Actions from Check-ins

It’s important that for each improvement suggestion that arises during the monitoring check-ins, someone on the team follows up to make sure the most important improvement ideas are put into action. If team manager roles have been assigned to project members, the responsibility for following through can be assumed by the Project, Quality, Time, Communication, or Risk Managers, depending on which managing roles team members have taken on.

One useful way to divide up the responsibilities of implementing project improvement ideas is captured by the diagram below, where overall progress reports and project revisions are managed by the Project Manager, project work quality by the Quality Manager, the overall project time schedule by the Time Manager, scheduling and facilitating check-ins and recording and sharing the results of team meetings by the Communications Manager, and troubleshooting and developing proposed project changes by the Risk Manager: [NOTE: There seems to be an extra comma in the diagram below – should be “Provide resources, revisions, or info]

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

Having regular project team meetings to check in on the progress and quality of project work, the productivity and quality of team interactions and processes, and both the individual and team gains in learning and expertise are all important parts of the ongoing monitoring and controlling of a project. The improvements made as a result of these ongoing check-ins are essential to enhancing project outcomes and effective project managing.

  • Project Management Institute Educational Foundation. “Foundational Guide – Project Management for Learning.” www.pmief.org, PMIEF, 27 May 2014. Web. 15 Oct. 2015
    http://bit.ly/1QhP6j3
  • Partnership for 21st Century Learning and PMIEF. “21st Century Skills Map: Project Management for Learning.” www.pmief.org, PMIEF, 04 Apr. 2014. Web. 15 Oct. 2015,
    http://bit.ly/1Omi3x1
  • Heagney, Joseph. Fundamentals of Project Management. Fourth Ed. New York: AMACOM, 2011.
    http://amzn.to/1T4RYmS

Resources

Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines and 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 monitoring and review strategies to improve learning and project success?
  • Activity Evaluation: How do you know your students increased their proficiency by engaging in the Monitoring & Controlling 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 Monitoring & Controlling 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 Monitoring & Controlling a Learning Project activities they experienced. Use the following questions as guidance:

  • How did the monitoring activities and check-ins help you be a better project team member, and how did they help your team produce better project results?
  • How did the monitoring and improving strategies change your views on how to make projects work better, 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 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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