“When knowledge and innovation come together, the doors to endless learning and growth open”Published: 25th August 2023
By: Sølvi Johansen
NKI Online Studies and Task have collaborated to modernize NKI's online courses. They wanted to test our well-developed project methodology and asked us to lead the innovation project when converting three digital vocational education programs into flexible online courses.
What is a fixed versus a flexible format? A fixed format means that students begin the program at a set time, and lessons are conducted in classrooms or as webinars according to a schedule, not unlike what most of us have experienced in our own schooling. In contrast, a flexible format allows students to study at their own pace. They can start the course whenever they want and access the program through a digital learning platform. Since we are not using the traditional classroom environment anymore, we need as program developers, to think differently about study quality and learning.
It became an exciting meeting with a proud and inspiring vocational school culture. Their ambitious goals were to develop vocational education in accounting, law, and sustainability. The timeline was tight, so we had to roll up our sleeves.
What was important for success?
Building Cross-Functional Teams
The first thing we focused on was forming competent, cross-functional project teams for each study. Well functioning teams are based on trust and security and are more open to new ideas and innovation. Therefore:
- All project participants were involved and engaged from the start.
- We found solutions together by supporting and assisting each other.
- Everyone was open to change.
- Clearly defined roles gave clear responsibilities.
- Everyone gained insight into each other’s expertise and knowhow.
- Communication and document sharing were facilitated through Teams.
By working together, the team’s efforts exceeded the sum of what individual members could have achieved separately.
Clear Mandate and an Engaged Steering Group
NKI established decision-making steering groups that guided us clearly in the right direction. For me as a project manager in a new organization, the steering groups were of great support throughout the process. They provided clear mandates, goals, and guidelines. Drawing from my own experience, top-level support is not always as clear as it was at NKI. It significantly contributed to the success of this project.
We conducted extensive user testing with students to gather valuable input. Through user testing, we ensured:
- Checking if the choices made by the project group worked as planned.
- Ensuring user-friendliness and optimal academic quality.
- Keeping the student at the center.
We did it! Now, students in accounting, law, and sustainability can learn when and where it suits them. Thanks to NKI for an challenging and inspiring task.
But wait, there’s more.
As a result of the projects I’ve described above, NKI has invited us to join the Academic Council for the Project Management School. The Project Management School provides comprehensive expertise that can be directly applied in the workplace. NKI collaborates with the business sector and industry players to ensure that the education’s learning outcomes remain relevant.
“NKI Online Studies and Task have had positive experiences with close collaboration on academic development. When knowledge and innovation come together, the doors to endless learning and growth open,” says Lana Berglund, Section Leader at NKI.
Task brings expertise and experience in project management and an understanding of market needs. This way, NKI ensures that the Project Management School remains innovative, up-to-date, and aligned with the needs of project management in the business world.
At Task, we thank you for your trust, and we are very excited about this opportunity. Effective project management is the key to success in all projects. Through our collaboration with NKI, we have the opportunity to contribute to creating tomorrow’s project leaders.