New APM Project Management Qualification Hybrid Course for 2022: 5 Days in 5 Weeks

Paul Naybour

What is Hybrid Learning

Parallel has over ten years of experience delivering virtual project management training, but for the past two years, we have been providing pure virtual training, and we have learned what works best for the 7th edition of the APM Body of Knowledge. Today we are launching a new flexible hybrid approach to the APM Project Management Qualification. This uses the power of our distance learning material combined with either virtual or face-to-face training to provide a more integrated and complete approach to learning. One that meets the different learning styles of delegates. We believe this new structure provides a market-leading and highly flexible approach to preparing for the APM PMQ qualification.

Why is Hybrid Learning Better than the Traditional 5-day block course?

For many years, the APM PMQ has been taught as a 5-day block course, starting on a Monday morning and then taking the exam on a Friday afternoon. This focused course was popular with training providers because it made for easy logistics and was popular with delegates, especially when courses were delivered as a residential course in a hotel. However, these 5-day courses have some serious flaws:

  • There is too much to learn within a week. The BoK 7 syllabus for the APM PMQ now has 67 assessment criteria, arranged in eight sections, which have to be covered in 4 days (allowing one day for exam prep and the exam). This is just too much information to take on in a week for many people. And the week does not allow any time for consolidation or reflection. As a result, many candidates reach a saturation point by Wednesday. 
  • There is very little time to set and mark sample questions and mock. At the most, it will be possible to try and mark two sets of homework and a mock exam. And the homework feedback is inevitable too late to maximise learning because the tutor will mark Monday’s homework on Tuesday evening with feedback on Wednesday. This is too late for the consolidation of knowledge. 
  • The intensity of the course, with evening work, provides minimal opportunity for the delegates to engage with e-learning podcasts and do independent research. 
  • Lower pass rate for the BoK7 version of the qualification. Many factors contribute to this change, the introduction of multiple lifecycles (linear, iterative and hybrid), the questions now have two parts, so candidates have to answer questions on 20 topics compared to 10 previously, the removal of the ‘list and describe’ questions. The combined effect has been an increase in the standards and challenges associated with passing the APM PMQ. 

Parallel’s Experience Delivering Virtual APM PMQ Courses 1 week, 3 weeks or 6 weeks

Traditional Parallel offered a 5-classroom course and a 6-week virtual programme. We recognised early in the pandemic that a five-day virtual course was too much for many people, so we migrated to a three-week course with 2-days in week 1, 2-days in week 2 and 1-day in week 3. Many people found this more acceptable than the 5-day option.

Our experince with 6 to 8 Week APM PMQ programme

For many years we have offered a 6 – 8 week programme, with a combination of half-day webinars, weekly homework, a mock exam and final exam prep and exam. We have found that this weekly approach works well for many people, it provides time for reflection, it allows for weekly homework that can be marked before the next session and supports people who want to use the e-learning material and read around the topic. Most importantly, it allows time for people to reflect on their mock exam scores before the exam prep session. In our experience, this programme approach has by far produced the highest pass rate for the APM PMQ, compared to either a traditional 5-day classroom or a 3 week modular course. However we find that it’s still a push to cover all 67 topics within the time allowed and people struggle to fit the homework into busy work schedules and they tend not to use the e-learning resources to their full potential. 

Our feedback on the 6-week virtual programme has always been excellent

Took the virtual APM PMQ 6-week course with Parallel. The course was conveniently timed to fit around the day job. Paul is hugely knowledgeable and supportive, teaching both PM principles and exam technique. Highly recommend to others with or without previous project management experience.

Goolge Review, Rebecca Unwin

I thoroughly enjoyed Parallel Project Training’s 6 week online course. The training sessions were good and the interactive sessions with other course members were good. I appreciated the feedback on the homework and my posts on the forum. I would recommend this course to anyone who is preparing for the APM PMQ exam.

Google Review Paul Rogers

This new programme enhances this approach, making better use of our e-learning resources and building homework exercises onto the day.

Design of our Hybrid APM PMQ

In designing our hybrid approach, we wanted to build on the bite-size 6-week weekly approach, but enhance it to:

  1. Provide more time to cover the more complex topics in an interactive way when the tutor can add the most value.  
  2. Provide more time for breakouts and group discussions. 
  3. Use e-learning to replace the slide presentations, especially for the more straightforward topics. 
  4. Keep the individual homework and mock exams but build these into the ‘course time’, reducing the burden of ‘homework.’
  5. Design in flexibility so parts of the programme, such as the exam and exam prep, can be complete face-to-face. 
  6. Split the exam from the teaching time, so maximise the benefit of time with the tutor. 
Hybrid Learning Cycle
Hybrid Learning Cycle

Steps in the Hybrid Learning Cycle

To deliver these objectives, the Hybrid programme uses this learning path:

Step 1: The delegates review the presentation material using the e-learning modules. 

Step 2: The tutor runs an interactive activity to review the key points, explore the more challenging topics or facilitate syndicate discussion

Step 3: The delegates prepare the answer to micro exam questions, either individually or in groups. 

Step 4: The tutor reviews the answers to micro questions whilst the delegates review the next topic on e-learning. 

Step 5: The tutor provides feedback on the micro questions individually and to the group. 

This model is repeated for each of the topic areas. 

Learn more about our Hybrid APM PMQ course.
Hybrid APM PMQ

Indicative Programme Timings for Hybrid APM PMQ

The delivery model follows this structure; the timings are approximate depending on the pace of the group. e.g. don’t be tempted to try and fit in a quick project meeting at 12:00, just in case, we have to spend a bit more time on roles and structures.

Week 1 Day 1: Structures, Lifecycles and Communications    

9.00-10:00 Webinare 1: Course introduction, how hybrid learning works

10:00-10:15 Review e-learning on situational context

10:15 -11:45 Webinare 2: Tutor group reviewing situational context including group exercise on micro-questions. 

10:45 – 11:15 Review e-learning on Organisation Roles and Structures

11:15 – 12:00 Webinar 3: Tutor group to review roles and structured;

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch

13:00 -13:30 Individual micro-questions exercises. 

13:30 – 14:00 Review e-learning on lifecycles (whilst tutor marks individual answers) 

14:00 – 14:45 Webinare 4: Tutor group review of lifecycles

14:45 – 15:00 Individual micro-questions exercises. 

15:00 – 15:15 Break

15:15- 15:45 Review communications e-learning, Tutor marks individual exam answers.

15:45- 16:00 Review communications e-learning

16:00-16:30 Webinare 5: Tutor group reviewing communications including group exercise on micro-questions.

Week 2: Day 2 Leadership, Teamwork and the Business Case

9:00-9:30 Review e-learning on Leadership and Teamwork

9:30 -10:30 Webinare 6: Tutor group reviewing leadership and teamwork, 

10:30 -11:00 Individual micro-questions exercises. 

11:00 – 11:30 Review e-learning on Scope Management (whilst tutor marks individual answers) 

11:30 – 12:00 Webinar 7: Tutor group to review Scope Management (part 1); 

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch

13:00 – 13:40 Webinar 7: Tutor group to review Scope Management (part 2)

13:00 -13:30 Individual micro-questions exercises. 

13:30 – 14:00 Review e-learning on the business case (whilst tutor marks individual answers) 

14:00 – 15:00 Webinare 8: Tutor group review of the business case 

15:00 – 15:30 Break

15:30 – 16:00 Individual micro-questions exercises. 

Week 3: Day 3 Project Management Plan, Scheduling, Risk Management

09:00- 9:30 Review e-learning on the Project Management Plan (whilst the tutor marks individual micro-answers)

09:30 -10:30 Webinare 9: Tutor group reviewing PMP including group exercise on micro-questions. 

10:30 – 11:00 Break

11:00-11:15 Review e-learning on scheduling

11:15 -11:30 Webinare 10: Tutor group reviewing scheduling  

11:30 – 12:00 Individual micro-questions exercises. 

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch

13:00 – 13:15 Review e-learning on cost management and earned value (whilst tutor marks individual answers) 

13:15 – 14:15 Webinar 11: Tutor group to review cost management and earned value;

14:15 -14:40 Complete individual sample answer

14:45 – 15:00 Review e-learning on the risk management (whilst tutor marks individual answers) 

15:00 – 15:30 Break

15:30 – 16:00 Webinare 12: Tutor group review of risk management

16:00 – 16:30 Group micro-questions exercises. 

16:30 – 17:00 feedback on group questions

Week 4: Day 4 Quality, Procurement, Exam Prep and Mock Exam

09:00 – 9:30 Review e-learning on the quality management (whilst tutor marks individual exam answers)

09:30 – 10:00 Webinare 13: Tutor group reviewing Quality Management

10:00 – 10:30 Individual micro-questions exercises. 

10:30 – 11:00 Break

11:00 – 11:15 Review e-learning on Procurement

11:15 -11:45 Individual micro-questions exercises. 

11:45 – 12:00 Tutor marks exercises. 

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch

13:00 – 14:00 Exam technique

14:00 – 15:30 Complete mock exam

15:30 – 17:00 Mock exam marking

Week 5: Day 5 Exam Prep

9:00 – 10:00 Feedback on mock exam 

10:00 – End of day Exam prep.

Week 6: Day 6 Exam Day

Exam is taken remotely. It is 3 hours (09:30 to 12:30)

APM PMQ Options for corporate clients with groups of more then five people.

For corporate clients, the programme can be taken as a blend of virtual or face-to-face modules. So for examples days, 1-4 could be virtual with days 6 and 6 in the classroom.

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