One of the biggest trends in project management in 2014 is the shift to virtual training. After all, online learning is often more time-efficient, allowing you to fit in coursework whenever you have free time and limiting the hours you need off work. They can be more cost-efficient by eliminating travel expenses. Some argue they're even more effective, since you can learn at your own pace, without cramming three months' worth of material into your head only to have most of it leak out again. Plus, materials are easily accessible, so you can review them any time.

But with this rising trend has come an abundance of options (see 20 Online Project Management Training Resources). How do you choose a quality project management course that also fits your needs? And how do you make sure you're getting the most out of the experience? We've put together an evaluation checklist to help you find the best match.

Project Management Course Evaluation Checklist:

  • CREDITS: Is the program accredited? If they offer PDUs, how many will you earn?
  • CONVENIENCE: Do they offer options that suit your schedule and availability?
  • REPUTATION: What kind of reputation does the company have? Tip: Check their social media pages to get an idea of what their current customers have to say.
  • SIZE: What's the average class size?
  • INSTRUCTOR: Who is teaching the course and what's their level of experience?
  • STANDARDS: Do they align courses with current industry standards? Are course materials developed in-house or by outside consultants?
  • SYLLABUS: Do they offer a preview of the syllabus or training schedule so you can get an idea of exactly what the course covers and how it will benefit you?
  • APPLICABILITY: Does the course or program incorporate real-life applications you can use in your daily work, or is it mostly theoretical?
  • SUPPORT: Will you receive any continuing support from trainers or faculty after you finish the course?

Preparing for and Maximizing the Course

Make sure you’ve read the course description, understand the time and work involved, and ensure that you’re able to put in the required effort. Set a schedule for when you'll attend classes and complete assignments. And find a space where you can work uninterrupted.

Once the course starts, make an effort to engage with other participants. Take advantage of discussion forums, social media pages, and chatrooms to connect and network with other project managers. You may end up learning just as much from your fellow students as from the instructor!

After you've aced the course, don't forget to update your LinkedIn profile and résumé to reflect any certifications you’ve acquired. Qualified project managers are in high demand!

Friendly reminder: You can earn PDUs by attending Wrike webinars! We present our very own experience-based strategies to increase productivity, establish good team habits, and improve collaboration. One hour of participation or viewing earns 1 PDU.

Now that you have the list of training options and this checklist, you're ready to get started. Let us know in the comments which courses you have taken and your thoughts about them!