Survey Says...the People Want Greater Leadership Skills | Merit Career Development Blog

Survey Says...the People Want Greater Leadership Skills

This past December, we invited our entire database to participate in our annual, 3-question Training Planning Survey. A majority of the people on our list work in, or support, project management. A trend we’ve observed is that each year a growing number of PMs are interested in developing their leadership and management skills; greater than the number interested in project management training. Out of 30 course topics listed, the top choices were:

2017 Survey Course Topics
Out of the top 17 courses considered for 2018 training, 11, or 2/3 are “professional development”, only five are project management courses, and one, Microsoft 365, is a general administrative skill.

The Nine Principles of Self-Leadership28.89%
Leadership Skills for Non-Supervisors28.89%
Managing Organizational Change26.67%
Performance Management24.44%
Persuasive Presentations22.22%
PM with Microsoft Project22.22%
Microsoft Office 36522.22%
PM Training with Simulation20.00%
PM Fundamentals20.00%
Creating a Culture of Innovation20.00%
Effective Customer Communications20.00%

Click here to see the complete list in order of planned interest.

LEARNING POINT: People working in or with project management, recognize the need for leadership and management training to improve their performance. Fortunately, Merit’s professional courses are not only very enjoyable and informative, and like our PM courses, they qualify for PDUs, CEUs, CPEs, and CLPs.

Training Formats

We saw a rather dramatic shift this year from our previous surveys in terms of training/learning format preferences. In the December 2017 survey, the web-based learning format was most preferred at 52.27%; significantly more than the full day, on-site format at 31.82%. These top choices flipped for the number one position from 2015.

In 2015, “Full day” was the top choice selected by 54% of respondents and web-based, self-paced learning was second choice at 41.7%. Below, you can see the other variations that occurred over the past two years.

Training Format2017 Response Percent2015 Response Percent
Full day, live31.82%54.2%
Web-based, self-paced learning52.27%41.7%
Series of one-hour webinars36.36%37.5%
2 or 3 sequential days13.64%12.5%
2 or more sequential 1/2 days15.91%12.5%
A single series of 1/2 day webinars13.64%12.5%
Several whole or half day trainings offered weekly9.09%8.3%

LEARNING POINT: Web-based, self-paced learning options were preferred over in-person instruction. Our respondents were also more interested in learning from a series of one-hour webinars, which are also self-paced, independent training formats, than full day, live sessions.

"Influencers" in Selecting Training Sessions

When respondents were asked to rate the importance of the following traits in their decision to select a course, on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning Not at all Important and 5 meaning Very Important, the educational Topic was clearly the most important trait — and we did expect this.

The surprises were related to how important the location of the course is and how relatively unimportant the credentials are. Please see the chart below:
"Influencers" in Selecting Training Sessions
Considering there are about 600,000 certified Project Management Professionals (PMPs) worldwide that need 60 PDU credits every three years, and similar figures apply to SHRM and CPA credit requirements, we expected that earning credits would have ranked higher in importance.

So, we would love to hear your thoughts on why these trends are moving in this direction.

  • Why do you think people are seeking independent learning opportunities more than in-person learning events? Is the freedom to choose their best time more enjoyable than in-person learning where people share their experiences?

  • What are the two most important criteria in your course selection … and why?

Please leave your comments below, we’d love to hear your feedback. Thank you very much for reading and for giving us your thoughts!


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