There are several types of organizations that offer change management certification online, such as private educational institutions, accredited institutions, and change management agencies.
However, not all of these institutions offer the same type or quality of training – and there are a few important differences between offline and online learning.
Below, we’ll learn about the pros and cons of online certifications in change management.
Where to Get a Change Management Certification Online
Here are a few examples of organizations that offer online training:
- Prosci is a change management consultancy that offers change management training and certification, both online and offline
- The Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) has a list of Qualified Education Providers, some of whom offer online training – ACMP’s certification exam is also available online
- The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is an educational institution that offers professional development programs, including change management training
- Accredited institutions such as Northwestern or Cornell also offer change management certificates, and many of these schools provide online training
Clearly, quite a few online change management certifications are available. The real difficulty, then, is not finding a course, but choosing which course to take – or choosing whether online certification is better than an offline course.
The Pros and Cons of Getting a Change Management Certification Online
Online training offers a number of advantages over offline learning, such as:
- Convenience. Taking a professional development course or workshop offline certainly has its benefits. Yet the lack of a commute and the ability to access training remotely makes it very easy for employees to learn as they work, even with a full schedule.
- Remote access. During the coronavirus pandemic, working from home became the norm around the world. As a result, the ability to learn remotely also became paramount for many professionals. Online certification fulfills that requirement, allowing business professionals to continue their career development, even if they are working from home.
- Affordability. Another benefit of online learning is that, for the most part, it costs less than offline learning. To take an offline class, for instance, the learner must take time off of work, travel, stay at a hotel, and attend a class in person, which is often more expensive than the online counterpart. Online classes, in contrast, are often more flexible and less costly.
Yet there are disadvantages to consider, including:
- Less coaching and one-on-one instruction. While many online instructors provide personalized communication and attention, there is a notable lack of in-person contact when learning online. The social isolation can have a negative impact on some students, particularly those who feel more comfortable engaging in a classroom setting.
- Less networking potential. One common complaint from remote workers is feeling socially isolated. That social gap can affect learning, as mentioned above, but it also affects students’ ability to interact with one another. This impacts another benefit offered by in-person engagement: networking, one of the key benefits to on-site business engagements.
- Limited learning modes. Learning online limits the ways instructors can teach. While role playing can be performed online, which can be useful for remote workers, online class structures tend to be less social and less conducive to this type of exercise.
Despite these disadvantages, the COVID-19 crisis is still ongoing as of this writing, so online learning may be the best option, as mentioned above.
After all, offline learning may be unavailable until we emerge into the post-COVID next normal.
How to Choose the Right Certificate Program
When evaluating online certifications and training providers, it is useful to consider a few points:
- Reputation. Not all certifications or institutions are created equal. While any online course may offer useful information, the credibility of the certification depends a great deal on the reputation of the educational provider. Providers such as Prosci or ACMP, for instance, are well-known and well-respected, while certain private education institutions may not be as recognized.
- Course content. Another area to examine is the actual content of the course. Each course will train students in a particular methodology or topic. To be useful, that content should align with one’s own needs, expectations, and career goals.
- Cost. Online courses tend to be cheaper than offline courses, as mentioned above. Yet different certifications have different price tags, and if affordability could pose a problem, it is worth weighing those costs up front.
- Personal goals. Personal goals, such as career goals, will also determine which course is best. If one wants to learn a specific methodology in-depth, for example, it may be worth finding a provider who offers a number of courses, both basic and advanced.
- Employers’ needs. In many cases, an employer’s needs will factor into the decision as well. If the employer prefers a certain change management approach, then it is clearly a good idea to focus on that methodology.
Defining all of these priorities clearly will make it easier to narrow down the list of viable choices and find the right program.
Obtaining a change management certification online is one of the best ways to improve both job skills and career prospects.
Also, as mentioned, learning from home may be the only option during the COVID-19 pandemic, making it a good choice for professionals who want to prepare for the uncertain world ahead.
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.