Is It Cogent?
If you have a short list of learning paths for your organization in Japan, please check them against these criteria. If you are not satisfied with the results, then please contact Cogent Language.
1. Is it Constructive?
Does the learning path depend mostly on looking? Is it based on videos, slides, and web browsing? Projects are not built that way, nor are careers that make a difference. If the learning isn't constructive, it isn't cogent. Learners need to listen and observe, no doubt, but they learn best by making things that make a difference outside classrooms. Same with project managers. In Cogent Language courses, participants build work products that make a difference in their worlds: models, plans, management decisions.
2. Is it Cooperative?
Is the learning path that you are looking at private? Is it chiefly "self-directed"? Fine, but project management and careers in it are all about cooperating with other people and organizations. It calls them stakeholders. Participants in our courses take on the challenges of collaboration under constraint, a challenge that is often called "leadership".
3. Is is Cumulative?
Is the learning path mapped out simply by topic? Hmm. Does it build on previous work? Does it incorporate the work of others? Does it accumulate team knowledge in a concrete product? If not, then what, please, is its connection to careers in the 21st Century? Careers today are built on the ability to progressively elaborate work in a team context. In Cogent Language courses, the main learning activities are not topics presented by the instructor - they are tasks that participants do. Each tasks builds on previous tasks and topics, with participants incorporating the work of teammates and accumulating knowledge in concrete products.
4. Is it Fast?
Is the learning path that you are looking at "at your own pace"? Okay, but fast companies move at internet speed, and it is no accident that the project management practices surging in importance now are called "agile". To bring participants up to speed quickly, all Cogent Language courses move fast. For individual review and follow up – at "my pace" – our workbooks provide templates for continued learning, including references to the PMBOK® Guide and other fast company resources.
5. Is it Visual?
Does the learning path look mostly like bullet points and paragraphs. Does it sound mostly like expert talking heads? Not good. Lots of language tends to slow things down and muddy them up. What learners see should show the system in focus or the way forward, clearly. This is not just because we are immersed today in our visual SNS, smartphones, videos and TV. Professional co-workers in global organizations often do not speak the same first language. This is why, for collaboration, they rely less on prose and grammar, and more on lucid, logical models. It is thus no surprise that conventional, project management work products such as WBS and Gantt chart are visual systems models. So are today's burn down charts and Kanban boards. In Cogent Language offerings, explanations and task work are set out by way of diagrams, tables, and other structural models corresponding to those used in the operating world of global projects. In the tasks, participants (and instructor) are typically using or making sketches and visual systems models, on whiteboards, mobile devices or just plain paper.
6. Is it Personal?
After starting down the learning path, do participants have meaningful choices about the selection, sequence and scope of learning activities? Or is their path unitary and pre-determined? Not good again. If the learning isn't personal, it isn't cogent. Project based learning gives participants significant choices about what topics they want to focus on, what they want to build, and how. How else can learning connect with a person's ideals and dreams? "Buy-in" drives motivation and learning. It comes largely from learners having meaningful options about topics and participation. "Getting their way" for learners is not a distraction or side-trip. It is skin in the game that accelerates individual learning and improves the design of any course instance. For this reason, participants in PBL need not move in lock-step. In Cogent Language courses, there are multiple learning paths. Participants have meaningful choices after they sign up about specific topics and learning activities. Class size is small so that the facilitator can serves as coach helping each participant along a learning path fit to the goals that s/he has, as an individual and member of a unique team and organization.