Project management is knowing how to create and implement a plan to achieve specific goals within a designated timeframe and budget. Managers and executives with these skills are able to coordinate teams, use resources effectively, and achieve their objectives.
Learning project management can significantly improve your business and advance your career. Acquiring these skills doesn't have to involve an expensive degree. There are many free project management courses online.
Best Free Online Project Management Courses
Many free project management courses online are for beginners who want to understand and implement the principles of project management.
Project Management Diploma on Alison
Alison offers a variety of project management courses, including their Diploma in Project Management. This course covers a case study in project management, the history of project management, and interviews with project managers. It will guide you through the methodology of project management such as PERT charts and the Critical Path Method.
Courses are self-directed, meaning you can complete them at your own pace and on your own schedule. The courses themselves are free, but in some cases, you must pay for the final certificate.
Project Management Courses by edX
edX partners with accredited universities and professional organizations from around the world to offer a variety of project management courses, such as Introduction to Project Management from the University of Adelaide or International Project Management from Rochester Institute of Technology. These courses have a set start date and last from four to 12 weeks. Beginner courses generally require two to three hours per week, while advanced project management classes may require up to 12 hours per week.
The courses themselves are free and are taught by university faculty. Students have the option to purchase verified certificates, which are signed by the instructor and include the seal of the university affiliated with the class.
Project Management Certification by Oxford Home Study Centre
The UK-based Oxford Home Study Centre offers a free Project Management Short Course that introduces the basics of project management. It takes approximately 20 hours to complete, online and at your own pace, and covers project management fundamentals, the role of a project manager, and the life cycle of a project. At the end of the course, students receive a certificate from the OHSC.
If you already have some experience with project management and want to learn more, the OHSC also offers more advanced project management courses for a fee. These each take at least 200 hours to complete and offer a Certificate of Achievement from ABC Awards and Certa Awards when the course is complete.
Project Management on Coursera
Coursera partners with universities to offer a variety of specialized project management courses. For project management beginners, there is Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management, which is offered by the University of Virginia. This class, which takes about 9 hours to complete, covers the basics of project planning, how to effectively use resources, risk management, and how to use the earned value approach.
Coursera is a Project Management Institute (PMI) Education Provider, and the Fundamentals course has weekly assignments for students to complete. Most Coursera classes offer free access to course materials and lessons, though you'll need to pay to have assignments graded by the instructors and receive a certification at the end.
Project Management Basics by GoSkills
For anyone who needs a free project management course for beginners, GoSkills offers a certification that is respected by project management professionals. The Project Management Basics course takes a little under eight hours to complete. It covers the fundamentals of project management principles, along with how to project boundaries using the W questions, how to create a schedule and allocate resources, risk projection, team building, and essential communication skills.
At the end of the course, you'll receive a certificate that has been approved by the Project Management Institute. Though GoSkills is a paid membership site, they offer a seven-day free trial, which can allow you to complete the Basics course for free.
Who Should Take Project Management Courses?
In large corporations, project managers may be assigned to work with teams in various departments, from new-hire training to marketing and advertising. In smaller businesses, project management may be an additional role that managers and supervisors have to take on.
No matter the size of the business, a leader with project management skills is more effective than one who does not know how to create and implement a project plan.
Learning project management teaches you how to:
- Plan strategic goals
- Create a clear plan of action that makes the best possible use of team members, tasks, and resources
- Establish benchmarks for evaluating progress
- Identify obstacles and manage risk
- Development of a timeline and schedule that everyone can follow
- Manage and communicate effectively with a team
- Oversee a project from start to finish, including changing strategy to address any problems that arise
Effective project management allows you to deliver projects that are on time, on budget, and goal-oriented. Whether you are a new hire who must develop and execute a marketing campaign, a manager working with a team to achieve multiple strategic objectives, or an executive overseeing the big-picture goals of an organization, every role in the business world can benefit from project management skills.