Reddit Conversation

In discussions on Reddit about my kickstarter project page, some had suggested that I look at reducing my costs and using free or reduced cost offerings. I appreciate the suggestions and the ideas. Alas, I have looked into those options and many do not work. As such, my online project management course is going to a more expensive infrastructure to deliver it to those that enroll.

I looked into many options. If I was building the traditional “instructor-talking-at-the-students” type of online training course, then many of the resources out there would work. I don’t want to deliver that form of instruction. Having professors drone on and on in person rarely works well – especially in highly technical content like the Project Management Professional PMP exam – in person; it is even worse online.

Trying to retain the attention of the learner for 35 – 45 minutes at a time while they passively sit staring at their computer screen may not be the most effective and efficient use of their time and exam preparation. The computer is far too distracting. Facebook, Twitter, instant messages, the web, etc. are just too tempting. They are like sirens begging you to sway. These temptations are hard enough in a classroom when there are others around noticing what you are doing. Remove the instructor or any type of peer pressure or authority, you are kidding yourself if you think the learner is not going to give into any of those temptations. Sure there may be a really dedicated student. But I argue those are rare. They are the minority. They are the most successful and for a reason. The vast majority of others are not going to ignore that email or text that comes in. Few are going to stay focused. Most that shift attention to the email or text that comes in are not going to stop the guy or lady talking on the screen. When they return to the lecture, they may be lost, they are going to need time to catch up. They may even be forced to rewind the video. And scrolling and hassling with a video play bar is not efficient and annoying use of one’s learning time.

Hence, I am passionate about making something – even if just incrementally – better. It takes more thought, energy, and resources [read: costs]. In the end I think it will be worth it for the thousands upon thousands of individuals that study for and attempt to pass the PMP exam every year. Please take a look at my Kickstarter page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thecrowdtraining/interactive-project-management-course
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Here is my latest response on the PMP subreddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/pmp/comments/7acjcr/kickstarter_pmp_interactive_online_course/

I have tried Udemy and it sucks. They take half of your fee. And they give away coupons to lower the value of your work even further without any input of yours. So a PMP class that should be valued at $200 is reduced to $10 by Udemy, then they take half of that! So the person and teams that did all the work only get $5 from a class that is worth far more.
Plus Udemy only has video based lecture courses. I am building something interactive and engaging. The online courses on Udemy are just people talking over their slides or paying actors to read a script (I know because I wrote scripts for some of the other companies out there).
I know that blazing a new trail and trying to bring more dynamic project management online courses to the world is going to cost me more and make my courses cost more, but that is the price of quality and good work. Interactive online courses cannot work with all the options you mentioned – I wish they did, it would save me a lot of money. If I was just going to talk at you thru my video camera for 35 hours straight, then yes I would definitely go with the resources your suggestion. Although, I am aiming to bring out something better and long term. I am building it for 6th edition (I was a contributor to earlier versions of the PMBOK) and plan to support PMP candidates for many years to come.
If you want to see some of the games I made thus far, go to http://www.thecrowdtraining.com/games I’ll give you a 90 day subscription of $10 (like the Udemy pricing you mentioned) if you use code Reddit.
Thank you for the great discussion. I appreciate your input. I am open to more of your thoughts and discussions. It helps make a better product and help more project managers.

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What’s a fair price for a PMP or ITIL class?

Reading a new book by William Poundstone titled “Priceless” It is really a great read.  That is if you are interested in the psychology of pricing and spending.

This has made me ponder the true value of ITIL v3 and PMP certification classes, as well as the other general training courses I conduct.  I have conducted these certification courses in person (CBT), online instructor led sessions, and pre-recorded self-paced online courses.  Each time the price is/was different.  Same instructor.  Often times the same material.  Maybe a different delivery method.  Maybe a different location.  But same general content.  Yet different prices.

I have seen the full spectrum of training costs.  Some astronomical.  Reaching many thousands for a day or two.  There are PMP, PRINCE2, and ITIL classes out there selling for $3,500 for 4 days without batting an eyelash.  It must sell.  They hold the classes and don’t offer much in the form of discounts.  At least when I tried.

Then I have seen training classes for as little as $350.  That’s one less zero!  Pretty big jump.

Makes me wonder, is the $3,500 class 10x better than the cheap session?  I am certain there are levels of quality, organization, and intangibles between the offerings.  Ten times?!  Maybe not that drastic.

The format and presentation of the material is a definite distinguisher.  Alas, I have seen student course material from a $2,600 course that was nothing more than a binder with screenshots of the presenter’s powerpoint and a bunch of lines underneath.  And the Powerpoint were nothing more than bullet points!  Obviously – at least to me and others with instructional design educations – this was an ‘expert’ telling you whenever s/he knows and what is already covered in the books.  Sure, they add personal ‘war stories’, but is that worth extra $1,000?  It’s rhetorical; don’t answer that.  Just amazed that this form of “instruction” is so prevalent – especially in IT.

With so many options out there, it can definitely be overwhelming for those seeking a good training option.  Prices and options and offerings run the gamut.  The services revolve around the same general objective – to get you to pass a certification exam or learn something new.  Telling which one is better. Or which one best fits your needs.  Or most importantly, knowing the ‘value’ equals the ‘price’.  Not an easy task.

Judging by the decrease in many course offers over the recent years, the inflated prices at the top of the spectrum are becoming more reasonable.  Although, the ‘cheap’ options may be too cheap to successfully run a training operation.  Then again, it might be right-pricing the whole PMP, Prince2, ITIL, etc playground.

What I plan to try out for the ITIL Crowd is maybe opening the door for people to name their own price.  Making it a price that more closely matches the true value.  I will start this only for corporate clients for the moment. Got a budget or price in mind – run it past me: neal@theitilcrowd.com.  Name your price. You never know, the price may be right.