There are many PRINCE 2 course providers to choose from. All have their selling points and different prices. But which one should you choose? Having provided accredited PRINCE2 courses since 2006, we’ve seen a lot of providers come and go. As a result, we know what makes a provider good or bad.Read on to discover what to look for in a PRINCE2 training provider. Essential reading for any individual or organization currently trying to choose a provider.
Sales pitchWe’ve all seen the reviews: “Voted the Best PRINCE2 Course” “It’s official – we train more PRINCE2 students than any other!” ”100% Pass Rate for PRINCE2!” “Luxury location…” “FREE training materials. FREE PRINCE2 templates. FREE PRINCE2 manual.”Of course, nothing is really free. It’s a sales pitch. And, more than likely, the training location is not luxury and the statistics have been fiddled. The past few years have seen an explosion of cheap PRINCE2 training providers, all sporting variations on these tag lines. Why is it that these remain effective, despite the fact that most prospective PRINCE2 students are fully aware of the illusory nature of sales strategies and marketing?One reason is perhaps the difficulty of knowing the best way to select a PRINCE2 training provider. There are many factors involved, not immediately apparent to the PRINCE2 novice. The nature of PRINCE2 training means that there are a narrow range of end results for any PRINCE2 course (i.e., choosing PRINCE2 Foundation or PRINCE2 Practitioner), and most courses tend to be the same length. Thus, the only remaining variable seems to be cost, which can be strikingly different from one training provider to another.
The training experience mattersHowever, while cost may be the most obvious variable from the purchasing end, it is perhaps the least important from the perspective of the experience and effectiveness of the training. Understanding the PRINCE2 methodology and passing the PRINCE2 examinations is dependent upon a training experience that allows students sufficient time to absorb the material, to communicate with an experienced PRINCE2 trainer, and to discuss the PRINCE2 method in relation to their own project management situations.All too often, cost-cutter training courses preclude these aspects of the PRINCE2 training experience. In order to offer students cheap courses, training providers cut back in four basic areas: materials, venue, time and trainers.
MaterialsPRINCE2 is a comprehensive methodology, and it is vital that students have access to clear and reliable training materials, in order to grasp the ins and outs of each process, the interrelation of the management products, and the role each principle and theme plays in the overall framework.
Death by PowerPointCheap training courses have a preference for PowerPoint, often printed six to a page. There are some PRINCE2 training providers who offer their students more than 360 PowerPoint slides in 3 days. Talk about death by PowerPoint!
Ask about the materialsWhen selecting a PRINCE2 course for yourself or your team, take a few minutes to enquire about, or peruse the training materials available: Are they printed, for example, in black and white or colour (a significant concern, given the quantity of PRINCE2 charts and diagrams)? Are training materials available online? What kind of pre-course materials are offered?
Need to be continuously improvedLess reputable training providers will not devote time to improving their course materials because they see this as a cost. If they can get away with using the same materials time after time, even though they aren’t effective, then they will do so.Better training providers know how important the whole learning experience is, and take the time to improve their materials over time.
“The team and trainers at KT were great and the materials much better than what I have seen from other providers.”
Avoid supermarket coursesPile ’em high, sell ’em cheap—that’s the motto of a growing number of PRINCE2 training providers, and in today’s tight financial climate, the strategy has its successes. However, it also results in students crammed thirty to a room (yes, you read it right – more than thirty!), sharing desks, training materials, and sometimes even chairs. (I’m not kidding – these are all examples taken by students who have attended such courses with other providers, failed and then came to Knowledge Train to take another course with us).
The bigger the size, the lower the educational valueThe problem with high class sizes means the higher the ratio of students to teacher, the less one-to-one communication is possible, and the harder it becomes for the student to grasp the course material. In other words, the more students in the class, the less the educational value (and comfort level) for each.
You need to be able to ask questionsThis is starkly illustrated by the situations of some classrooms, in which students are barred from asking questions, as there are simply too many for any kind of interaction beyond the lecture theatre set-up. One student who came to Knowledge Train after failing their exam with another provider said the first thing the trainer told his students on the first morning was that “nobody could ask questions because otherwise I don’t have enough time to get through the materials”.
TimeMost PRINCE2 trainers will ask their students to study in advance of the course, and to complete a certain amount of homework and revision before their PRINCE2 exam. In cost-cutting training organizations, however, this can be taken to extremes.
Avoid huge amounts of time beforehandWith less time available in class to ask questions to the trainer, cheap training providers compensate for this by making their students spend more time preparing for the course in advance (often up to 15 hours) and more time doing homework.While I wouldn’t want to prevent any keen student from going that extra mile, it is important to be aware, when choosing your PRINCE2 training, that such excessive extra study time is a clear indication that the classroom hours and environment are not sufficient to support a high success rate or effective PRINCE2 training.
“Everyone thought the course was very enjoyable and engaging, much more than they were expecting. I am definitely looking to get more staff onto this course.”
Good trainers cost moneyOne crucial way that cheap training providers use to save money is to employ inexperienced trainers. Those trainers just starting out in their training career are glad to get any work. The most experienced PRINCE2 trainers (and therefore more costly) can pick and choose who they work for.By choosing the cheapest PRINCE2 training providers, it’s very likely that your trainer will be relatively inexperienced in delivering PRINCE2.We’ve even heard of one academy bringing PRINCE2 trainers in from India to deliver courses in the UK. There’s no shortage of qualified, experienced PRINCE2 trainers in the UK, so they can only be doing this to save money.
“The best thing about the course was the tutor who made the material really easy to understand and the exam a much less stressful process. I would recommend this course as I now feel I’m much more able to steer projects in a more meaningful way.”