Educators and students can learn a lot from professionals when it comes to project management. Whether it’s in relation to creating lesson plans, staying organized in one’s studies, or exploring project based learning, there are several aspects of project management and many tools and resources from the field that can be applied in a classroom setting. Here are some of the highlights.
1. Design Thinking
As a project management tool, design thinking adopts a human-centered, innovative approach to tackle problems. In the “problem space” phase, students seek to understand a problem, then observe and adopt the perspective of a specific user. In the “solution space” phase, they ideate (brainstorm) and create and test a prototype. The process encourages reiteration and revision of solutions in a short period of time in order to find the most effective approach as fast as possible.
2. Scientific Inquiry
This type of project management comes from the sciences and has participants pose a question, research and formulate a hypothesis, test the hypothesis with experiments, analyze the results, and form a conclusion or suggested path forward for further testing. This method can be applied to projects outside of science class. Its benefits include staying objective, avoiding assumptions without hard data, and testing and retesting ideas.
3. Expression Projects
This method includes reflecting on a personal perspective you’d like to communicate to others, selecting a medium of expression, designing and creating a prototype for the project, testing the prototype and requesting feedback, and evaluating your feelings and gauging other people’s reactions to the work.
4. Agile Management
Agile management was first introduced in software development circles in the 1950s. It has become a popular approach in other industries due to its collaborative, team-oriented aspect. In software development, it includes prioritizing customer management, changing environments to provide a competitive advantage, delivering services or products at a higher frequency, close collaboration between stakeholders and developers, team support, face to face meetings, work toward a final working product, sustainable development, simplicity, and self-organizing teams.
In education, agile project management means holding “learning sprints” to quickly achieve certain outcomes and receive feedback, to create “learning squads” or teams of students who collaborate closely, gamifying education to motivate individuals, reflecting at the individual and team levels, recognizing individual strengths, and working together toward a common goal.
5. Project Based Learning
This one’s perhaps best known among educators and shares overlaps with the project management space in business. Project based learning encourages students to launch straight into a project, build skills to address the driving question, develop and critique products and answers, and present those products and answers. It’s heavy on practice and action, and many teachers consider it a more hands-on alternative to the classic “sage on the stage” approach of traditional lectures and passive instruction.
Check out our Project Management Learning Library for more information.
Have you used any of these project management methods in your own classroom or studies? Please share your experiences in the comments section below.