27 August, 2018

The Definitive Guide to Why a Good Online Project Management Course Beats Live Training

I love doing a live Project Management course.

The interaction with participants and the chance to take the course in whatever direction they choose isn’t just challenging; it’s fun.

And, for the last 14 years, I’ve done more Project Management training than anything else. I’ve given over 500 project management courses and seminars, for over 6,000 new and experienced project managers.

But now, I have reluctantly come to a conclusion.

An online Project management course is even better.

Ten reasons why Online is Better

My live course formats are flexible. They range from a 60 minute keynote, via a 3-hour seminar to one, two, three, and four day programs.

Yet for all of that, I have reluctantly concluded that a good online Project Management course is better, over-all, than live training.

I know there are pros and cons. And I know that one motivation for me is to get my courses to a far wider, global audience*. But I’d like to share with you my ten most compelling reasons why I believe online is even better.

After 14 years of successful Project Management training, I have concluded that a good online Project Management course beats an offline course.
After 14 years of successful Project Management training, I have concluded that a good online Project Management course beats an offline course.

Reason 1: Access and Timing

Yup; maybe that’s two reasons in one. But they link together tightly. A good online Project Management course is available where you want them. You can use multiple platforms, like:

  • desk-top,
  • laptop,
  • smartphone or
  • tablet,

And they are available whenever you are ready to learn or need to know. Live training courses come on the day they are scheduled and at the place they are put on:

  • What if that day doesn’t suit you?
  • What if travel is inconvenient?
  • Thinking like a risk manager, what if there are travel delays or, worse, cancellaions?

Reason 2: Pacing

If you are lucky enough to get booked onto a live training course, it takes as long as it takes. It’s often in one chunk, and (with me at least) at a relentless pace that tries to fit in as much content and value as possible, while balancing the need for participants to understand everything and for the information to stick. What if you’d like to pause, and think, and maybe even rewind? Too late. You’ve just missed a bit.

On the other hand, a good online Project Management course is split into small gobbets of information, that you can review at your own pace. You can take several modules back-to-back, for the immersive experience, or take one at a time, and reflect on each. And you can go back and re-watch as soon as you’d like, whenever you like, and as often as you want.

The one-at-a-time nature of online training also allows you to fit your learning into convenient moments. This can spread it out and so, paradoxically, make it feel effortless. This choice is not just better for your learning, it is also less disruptive to your life and your organization’s business cycle.

Reason 3: Repeatability

If you go on a live training event, it is a one-shot thing. You get your course notes or workbook, but rarely look at them again.

But with an online Project management course, you have it all available to you whenever you want it or need it. This means you can repeat a module as often as you like, until the information, ideas, and understanding truly stick.

And, if you need a refresher when something comes up at work… It’s there.

Reason 4: Just in Time

Another benefit of a good online Project Management course is the ability to access information and tools on a ‘just in time’ basis.

If you are about to start a new project, then you can review the project definition modules before settling down to work. And if you need to run a risk identification workshop, you can take a look at the Risk Management materials before you head off to your meeting. Or if you are stuck with your first change request, you can remind yourself how a change control system works, and respond accordingly.

Whether you are consuming the content for the first time or later, as a refresher, with OnlinePMCourses, you can have Mike there with you, to help you think through your next step.

Reason 5: Choice

Wherever you are in the world, you have a huge choice of online Project Management training. Not just different providers, of which there are many, but also different courses from each provider; tailored to meet different needs. At OnlinePMCourses, for example, we launched with three tiers of core Project Management training courses, depending on the level of depth you want or need.

With live training, you may e lucky. If you live in or near a major commercial center, there will likely be a lot of courses to choose from. But do you?

Reason 6: Depth

Online means digital, and delivering digital assets is very low cost. So providing additional materials to add the depth of learners’ experience is easy and cheap. This means you will often get a wealth of extra content, that the equivalent live training could never provide.

And there’s more. Not only does a good online Project Management course offer a big choice of core content, but they can also offer an astonishing array of follow-up content. Economies of scale in serving the whole English-speaking world* mean OnlinePMCourses is building an ambitious library of follow-on courses that will allow you to gain detailed knowledge of a wide range of Project Management specialisms, and related topics.

Reason 7: Multi-mode

The large amounts of possible downloadable materials can also come in a variety of formats. Indeed, at OnlinePMCourses, we are committed to adding to all of our courses downloadable podcast versions of all video content, for example. We use a variety of formats to supplement users’ learning, as well as giving away free tools, templates and articles.

Reason 8: Follow-up

When you go on a live training course, you meet your trainer and, hopefully, you will form a bond of trust, respect, and liking with them… for the one, two, three, or maybe four days of the course. And then, you go back to your work, and they move onto the next training group. Goodbye.

With a good online Project Management course, however, there is scope to build and grow a long-term relationship with your trainer. At OnlinePMCourses, every course you take will give you the option to ask questions of Mike, and also see and contribute to discussions started by fellow students.

Reason 9: Community

Not only do you get long-term access to and follow-up from your trainer at OnlinePMCourses, but you will also be able to join our Facebook Group, before you take the plunge, and join in with lots of lively discussions before, during, and after you’ve finished your course. This will give you a very really on-going learning experience. How many online Project Management course providers offer some kind of membership experience?

Reason 10: Price

We have to tackle the question of cost.

And here again, an online Project Management course wins out in most cases. If what you need is a single place on a training course, then live Project Management training can typically cost anything from $300 – $800 per day’s training, per participant. In the UK, typical prices range from £195 – £495. Then there’s travel and maybe even accommodation. A two-day course could easily cost $1,200 or £900 all-in.

As an example, our ‘two-day-equivalent’ course, The Project Manager’s Skills Mastery Program, compares very favourably with this, at $197 for lifetime access, with all the benefits above.

Of course, if you have enough candidates to make it viable, your organization can hire a Project Management trainer (like me) and run an event in-house. This gives economies of scale, if:

  • all your candidates can find a convenient time-slot, and
  • your organization can manage the potential disruption of having so many people out of the business for one day or three.

At $650 – $2,500 per day (£500 – £2,000 in the UK), good trainers aren’t cheap. But spread across 12 participants, the price is very reasonable. Especially if few of them need to travel.

You may be a small business, however. Or you may only have a small number of people whom you need to train.

In this case, that’s a problem. But even if you can muster the numbers to make live commissioned training cost-effective, online Project Management training can still beat it. Most providers, including us, offer discounts for multiple users. We also offer the  benefit that you can mix and match different courses for different people.

Learn more about our Volume Licensing.

So, Why does all this Matter?

It matters, because Project Management matters.

Whether you want to make it your career, or if it is just one part of your professional life, you will want to deliver your projects successfully. And a good online Project Management course will help you do that. And you also want to enjoy the process. A good program will be well-structured. Hence, you can understand the material easily and feel that what you are learning is reliable, practical, and consistent.

It also matters because the way we all work is shifting.

If you want a sustainable career, you need to be constantly developing yourself and your skills. One course, at one time, slowly forgotten, is not going to meet the needs of a twenty-first century professional workforce. You need something built for the modern age. You need something that is accessible, self-paced, repeatable, and available just when you need it. It must be deep and broad, with great follow-up from the trainer. You also want a trainer who can commit to your long-term learning. And this is a world of global social media connections. So you will want a community of like-minded learners and professionals to ask questions of, share thinking with, and who will challenge you.


Finally, whether you are funding your own development or paying for your team from a corporate budget, you must demand the value for money that the digital web can now enable.

Yes indeed. Your choice of an offline or online Project Management course does matter. And there are ten reasons why you should make the choice to go online.

So now, I suppose, the question is…

Are you ready for an Online Project Management Course?

If you want to know the answer to this question and why, then take a look at our earlier article. And the TLDR is ‘yes, you are’.

There, you will learn the truth about your project management knowledge.

And if you know the answer is
‘yes, I am ready for an Online Project Management Course’

Then the next logical question is obvious.

And we have you covered with that one too.

Take a look at our article:

Ten Revealing Questions to Ask to Find the Best Project Management Course


* In rounded numbers, there are around 500 million native English speakers, for whom English is their first language. There are also between 500 million and 1 billion more non-native speakers. For them, English is a second or minor language.

Never miss an article or video!

Get notified of every new article or video we publish, when we publish it.

Mike Clayton

About the Author...

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Never miss an article or video!

 Get notified of every new article or video we publish, when we publish it.