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FutureLearn and partners across the globe champion best practices in Project Management

New project management courses answer escalating need for skills and take a global perspective on sharing best practice

London, UK: 20th September 2017: FutureLearn, the leading social learning platform, is announcing the upcoming run of courses in project management, in collaboration with The Open University, the  University of Virginia Darden School of Business and Purdue University. Darden’s course is available to start now, while Purdue and The OU’s courses are available from 2nd October and 30th October respectively.

Project Management is an essential skill-set for many careers. The Project Management Institute estimates that 15.7 million new project management jobs will be created globally between 2010 and 2020, while ESI International state that Project Management best practices and concepts are being adopted by many other non-Project Management roles such as marketing, sales and logistics. FutureLearn and their partners are therefore looking to introduce learners to this vital skill-set and encourage those who are more experienced in their career to revisit and evaluate their skills.

The first course available to learners this autumn, ‘Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management’, run by the Darden School of Business, is available for learners to begin now and targets anyone with an interest in ensuring the smooth running of projects. Learners can explore the basics of project planning and management by defining a project, understanding a project’s successes and failures and reflecting on stages of a project life cycle. Learners will progress to explore the importance of planning, scheduling and making changes, as well as common mistakes committed. The final phase involves looking at risk analysis and the project execution. As a Project Management Institute registered education provider, the Darden School of Business has been approved by PMI to issue Professional Development Units for this course.  

Yael Grushka-Cockayne, Associate Professor of Business Administration at the Darden School of Business, said: “Projects are everywhere around us, in our personal life and in business.  Our course can therefore relate to all learners (one of the reasons I love teaching this course!).  In the course, we focus our attention on practical aspects of planning and managing projects, using many industry case studies and examples.  We also offer a strategic focus, thinking about how projects tie in with an organizational goal or objective and how organizational priorities might influence how projects should be run.”

Purdue University’s course, ‘Time Management Strategies for Project Management’ starts on 2nd October 2017 and is aimed at programme managers, project managers, project leaders and those with an interest in project management and time management concepts. Learners will develop time management skills to ensure projects run to plan and will learn ways to avoid absorbing more time and resource.  Participants on the course will learn how to put an end to ‘runaway projects’ by looking at fundamental processes, such as the Precedence Diagramming Method, the critical chain method and the critical path method. Learners will also be able to explain project milestones and define key terms such as resource leveling and resource smoothing.

The Open University’s course, ‘Business Fundamentals: Project Management’, available to start on 30th October, will introduce learners to why we need projects and define what a project is. The course targets those likely to be involved in projects in a professional and personal capacity and introduces them to key methodologies in the project management process, looking at project management within a range of industries such as property, retail and fashion. Learners will explore the stages in a project’s life cycle, from the initiation phase, to planning the project itself, using gantt charts, budgeting, delegating responsibilities and monitoring and tracking costs. Each phase of the life cycle will give learners the opportunity to design their own project and share their achievements with others.

Giacomo Carli, lecturer in strategic management at the OU business school and lead educator of the course, said: “In designing the Open University’s course, I wanted to show how theoretical concepts are applied in practice. This course introduces the fundamental techniques used in the four phases of a project lifecycle (initiation, planning, execution and closure). Beyond definitions and theoretical concepts, each project management activity is linked to a document template, to support future project managers in their daily activities, showing how to plan, monitor and control their projects so that they’re ready to apply their skills in a professional setting. Using the wide set of documents available, learners will have the possibility to immediately apply their skills to a project of their interest.”

Stephen Somerville, Director of Business Development at FutureLearn, said: “Project Management is a hugely transferrable skill desired across an increasing amount of sectors; it’s no longer solely for project management professionals – it’s a key area for organisations to invest in and a great asset for employees throughout the business to have. People learning with The OU, Purdue and Darden, partners we’re proud to be working with, will have access to information and advice from experts in the field of project management. They’ll also be able to collaborate with learners who have experience in the profession, or are starting out for the first time to enhance their skill-set. With the range of courses starting over the autumn this is a good time for people to address their professional development, especially if they’re looking to get ahead.”

Learners can also take a look at key Career Advice around becoming a project manager on the FutureLearn platform, including the key skills they’ll need to excel in the role.

As with most FutureLearn courses, the courses can be taken for free or there is the option to upgrade to receive additional benefits.


Notes to Editors

For further press information, please contact:

Rachel MacPherson, PR Executive, FutureLearn,

About FutureLearn

Founded by The Open University in 2012, FutureLearn is a leading social learning platform, enabling online learning through conversation. With over 6.5 million people from over 200 countries across the globe – a community that is continuously growing – it offers free and paid for online courses from world-leading UK and international universities, as well as organisations such as the European Space Agency, the British Council and Cancer Research UK. FutureLearn’s course portfolio covers a wealth of areas to promote lifelong learning for a range of applications including general interest, an introduction to university studies, continuing professional development and fully online postgraduate degrees.

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