Mastering PCM – Tailor made learning platform now online!

May 01, 2013 | bit-wartung | Methods & Tools |


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The new e-learning platform Project Cycle Management interactive (PCMi) is online. It’s a flexible platform for blended and self-directed learning. Rate your competencies for an individual study plan or access the material for further reading.

By Ursula Läubli, SDC


PCM competence is an important core competence for all development practitioners. The new and open SDC e-learning platform Project Cycle Management interactive PCMi – offers different options for self-study. PCMi is a flexible and attractive way to improve or refresh your PCM competencies.

The new PCM-e-learning platform is a great and innovative tool for deepening individual PCM knowledge because it allows the composition of modular learning sequences for each user according to individual needs and interests. – Markus Glatz, Programme Manager Quality Assurance Bolivia

Flexible platform for blended learning

The flexible e-learning platform complements the PCM trainings offered by the SDC Quality Assurance. A truly innovative feature is the Competency profile for result based project management. The competency profile gives you an overview about core competencies related to “Result based Project Cycle Management”.

The platform features five modules:

1. Introduction to managing results,
2. Planning for results,
3. Measurement of results,
4. Monitoring and steering for results and
5. Evaluation or review of results.

How the platform works:

The PCM eLearning tool is a great way to refresh or complete understanding of PCM. Having joint SDC only recently, the tool clarified for me in a very good way how PCM works at SDC. The possibility to pick and choose modules allowed me to get a good overview in no time and fill specific gaps.  The modules are well set up, easy to work through and the interactive features allow progress monitoring. I highly recommend this tool to everybody within SDC who would like to learn more about PCM and definitely to all new SDC staff. – Barbara Wieland, Project Manager Mongolia

Individual starting point

The main starting point for learners is the Competency Profile found in the platform’s “study” area. As a first step you rate your current skills. There is a choice of 25 core competencies. Then you rate the importance of these competencies for your work. You can use this matrix also for orientation and reflection.

If you prefer a thematic approach you find the five enhanced books in the “read” area. You can interactively access additional material like a short video film, bespoke presentations, interactive graphics, quizzes and further readings as PDFs or links. Or you use the platform as a library for additional material in the “browse” area.

Successful joint venture for State of the Art knowledge on PCM

The platform has been jointly developed by SDC Quality Assurance with NADEL/ETH Zürich and LerNetz. The concepts and methods described are those currently used for results-based project cycle management in most international development agencies. They are to the largest extent compatible with SDC instruments. Further adoptions and development of the platform shall enhance this compatibility.

PCMi was tested by SDC staff at the Head Office and in the field. Their feedback was essential to develop the features and for the user friendliness of the platform.

PCMi will be presented as innovative competence-based and self directed learning tool at the International Conference on E-Learning in the Workplace ICELW 2013 to be held in June at the Columbia University in New York.

The platform is in English; Spanish and French versions are available in autumn 2013 once the first experiences have been analyzed.

It is great that the on-line version allows defining an individual learning plan based on the experience and the position of each student; that’s also what PCM is about; adapting a procedure to specific situation not a one fit’s all tool! – Willi Graf, Deputy Head Regional Cooperation SDC

The E-learning Platform was a useful tool for me in order to prepare myself for the PCM training course and to have an idea of the topics being covered. Given that I already read a lot during work, it was refreshing to have a tool that integrates videos and exercises. – Cyrill Troxler, Programme Manager, Section Analyses and Politics SDC

PCM-learning is a an organizational challenge and management responsibility

Individual self-directed learning is endorsed by colleagues abroad and in the field. Several studies have shown that e-learning can cover only around 20-25% of the learning goals. Organizational learning is a cultural question. And learning is an investment. It needs time, space and rigor: from the participants’ side and from the management side. The support of superiors has great impact on the transfer of the new skills, on-the-job learning and the definition of concrete learning tasks.

Community of practice to deepen the learning

SDC Quality Assurance encourages the development of communities of practice on PCM. Peer exchanges on the progress and open questions will support the transfer of learning into practice.

What are your experiences with PCM learning? In what sense can the PCM interactive support your efforts and add value to your learning? We are interested to hear about your experiences!


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