Apenko S.N. Motivating students to practice and training in project management

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Apenko S.N. Motivating students to practice and training in project management

   Strategic guidelines for the development of higher education form the basis for conceptually new approaches to training. In the reform of higher education are based on the principles of practical orientation of students training. In this context, the task organization of practices and internships, as well as developing their practical skills are in demand of particular importance.

   Omsk FM Dostoevsky State University, in particular, the Department of "Innovation and Project Management" of Economics Faculty, provides training in Project Management (Bachelor) actively converts forms of partnership with enterprises to practice and training of students, tests innovative technologies of practical activity of young people. Increased attention to the practice of students is due to a number of reasons and objective conditions. First, the profile of training in project management at its core is practice-oriented, as the project management is a collection of the world's most effective practices of the project methodology in the management of companies. Secondly, there has been noticed rapid growth of needs of businesses and organizations in project management and professionals with the appropriate specialty, training of which is possible through co-operation efforts of universities and enterprises. Third, change of the motivation of students associated with the practice and training that must be taken into account. Fourth, an additional impetus to the search for non-traditional forms of practice organization serves the novelty of the training profile in project management, as well as specific department "Innovation and project management." Under novelty no old stereotypes, burdening the formation of principles, practices and training programs for students, and, on the contrary, there is a strong interest in positive promoting on the employers market new profile and the department.

   Indicated reasons caused the active search for mutually beneficial implementation of innovative forms of practice and training of students. In particular, our experience of practice based on these positive trends.

  • 1.

       Increases the initiative of enterprises in attracting students to practice. There is a balance between supply and demand in the market of potential employers. Many businesses often need to use students as interns and trainees.

  • 2.

       Grows the importance of general competencies of graduates of universities, such as communication skills, strategic thinking, skills of self-organization, etc. In addition, most of the enterprises and organizations refer to the project way of working. As a consequence, become relevant the competencies of project management implementation such as innovative thinking and behavior, management skills of project works, as well as human and material resources of the project, the ability to command activities, expert leadership in the project, etc. All of these competencies can not be formed only in the traditional teaching methods, necessarily entails the practice of students.

  • 3.

       Change forms and methods of partnership of schools and businesses about the practice. In particular, many businesses offer students options as standard practice in the curriculum specialist training and additional training and practice for the advanced student activity programs. Moreover, enterprises are implementing various schemes for students’ motivation building, ranging from monetary motivation, and ending with the possibility of inclusion in the reserve of the personnel with subsequent employment.

  • 4.

       Along with the high demand for student interns on the profile of "Project Management" note more developed approach to the selection of candidates for the practice. Today, the competitive procedures trainees’ selection becomes traditional. Competitions technologies are based on such attractive methods to students as role-playing and solving cases, participation in pilot projects, trainings, etc. These methods allow, on the one hand, to evaluate candidates for the practice and to select those who meet the requirements, on the other hand, they are developing methods to help students understand the requirements of potential employers.

  • 5.

       Many companies show interest in early involvement of students to collaborate, starting from the second year, and gradually "nurturing" them during the entire period of study at the university through the creation of required corporate competencies. Enterprises realize that investments to students’ human capital pay off in the future as a loyal and committed staff with the necessary basic skills. Enterprises tend to long-term contacts with the universities.

   The trends noted the experience of practice building led students of "Innovation and Project Management" department, Omsk FM Dostoevsky State University. For this experiment are characteristic: long-term forms of cooperation with department partner companies develop jointly with representatives of individualized training and practice programs in line with business needs and abilities of students; earliest practice of the students, the students participate in a team with teachers in real projects, carried out by the department commissioned by enterprises.

   It is significant that several innovative technologies with the aid of which the selection of the enterprise for practice of the most appropriate for each student's individual ability and motivation. These technologies are implemented in the following events.

  •    - "The Fair of Practices", in which students have the opportunity to get acquainted with the proposals for internships, ask questions to representatives of businesses, consciously choose the location of their practice. Department jointly with companies developed such innovative techniques as credit-quiz, contest analysts cases, a problem-oriented game, etc.

  •    - "Management fights", which is a technology for selecting candidates for the practice and teaching students the methods of effective communication and operational decision-making. This technology has transformed by us into a tool for students’ motivation building for internships in enterprises.

   Due to the urgency of the problem of student motivation to practice, which will be further illustrated by the facts, the Department, together with one of the major regional enterprises realizes one more interesting innovative technology to the practice passing of students - "We go to Gemba". The technology is based on the Japanese method of quality control. In Japanese, the word gemba means working place at the plant, where the real action takes place. [1] The technology adapted by us, "We go to Gemba" is that students analyze jobs and generate creative ideas for improvement. Students may both actually practice Gemba, and just be observers. The technology consists of the following steps:

  •    1. Preliminary in-house training of students, during which the basic functions of a workplace-Gemba is explained. Also, the mood is to generate ideas, develop creative thinking techniques, the participants of "We go to Gemba" are oriented to where they need to look for ideas to improve the business.

  •    2. Training staff of the Gemba. At this stage, it is important to inform them about the purposes of the event, ask to put in the place of the most experienced staff able to patiently and intelligently explain the nature of their work.

  •    3. Create motivation to work on the Gemba. This is key step, without a high level of motivation students and the company will not get the desired result. The methods of creating incentives can be offered following: demonstration of the experience of "the best" world practices the use of technology "Go Gemba"; representation of experience of known in the company employees who visited the Gemba (eg, top-management), creating a competitive environment through the introduction of nominations (for example the best idea, the best member).

  •    4. Practice on the Gemba.

  •    5. Summing up, the winners, the formulation and discussion of the further advancement of ideas.

   The concept of practices and training organization involves annual monitoring of the needs of students and businesses, as well as evaluating the satisfaction of these subjects passing practice. During the monitoring study the motivation of students and employers. Here are some facts that characterize the motivational expectations of the students' and dynamics of motivation as they progress through practice.

   During the event, "The fair of practices" conducted a survey of 79 students planning their first access to the practice-job training activities. Results showed preference for the form of practice. Most students (72%) were in favor of extending the practice, that is, except in the typical practice programs work commissioned by the company on a real personal project or a part of a large corporate project. One in five students (21%) would like to do an internship, which involves the addition of prolonged work on projects commissioned by companies or as a part of the projects for the students in a comfortable mode.

   After the completion of the practice of student survey was repeated, results of which showed changes in the motivational attitude of youth. Almost halved the number of students wishing to undergo training - from 21% to 12%. Fewer students, namely 58% compared to 72%, showed a desire to take an extended practice with the performance of individual or collective projects. The causes of this trend are that students aware of the difficulty in practice of combining educational activities and work on real projects. A number of enterprises haven’t created terms for effective involvement of student teachers in the projects based on their abilities and capabilities. However, most of the students supported the development and implementation of their own small projects.

   The surveys were studied basic motivations of students to participate in internships and practice (Table 1).

   Against the backdrop of a generally high positive motivation, recorded a slight decline after internship, which is associated with a number of problems in the organization training and practices. So, along with positive trends there are obstacles in the way of partnerships of universities and enterprises to organize practice and training. For example, a significant number of companies are showing interest in that the students were involved in the most concrete projects. Since the time the projects are hard coded, the company would like the students to be engaged in the project a lot of the time, including during classes in high school. High involvement in the project negatively affects on other forms of learning activity of students.

   Sometimes there is unreasonably high level of requirements to the students, in which enterprises have come to expect the students of the same skills, like working professionals. High standards of requirements encourage the student to the growth of professionalism, but at the same time, can reduce the motivation to shape uncertainty and low self-esteem in students.

   Developing long-term and multi-channel forms of cooperation between the university and businesses will help overcome the problem of narrow private interests dictate. We are talking about how to harness the power of the enterprises not only about the practice and training, but also to involve representatives of enterprises as teachers, members of student conferences and forums. In turn, faculty members should participate in projects of companies. This helps to bring the interests of higher education institutions and enterprises on the basis of which offer students the practices of effective programs and internships. Need to replace the formal requirements for the practice of the requirements of the enterprise-based real individual student projects or participation in projects of companies. The accumulation of practical experience should be recorded in the student's portfolio and further considered in its employment.

   In general, the main condition for increasing the motivation of students to practice and training should be recognized by the provision of productive help, both from the university and from businesses. Smoothly functioning mechanism of practice and training allows you to create the most popular competencies, which, in turn, will boost the motivation to use skills in practice, successful employment of college graduates.


1. Masaaki Imai. Gemba Kaizen. The way to reduce costs and improve quality. - M.: "Alpina Publisher", 2010. - 344 p.

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