Microsoft Project is a powerful application but many people find it confusing. It is difficult to learn on one's own and to get the most from MS Project, training courses taught by experienced and certified instructors are the best choice.

As a student, you need to do more than just show up on the day of the course. In order to realize the most benefit, there are many things you can do to make the course enjoyable and effective.

Before the course

If you are involved in course selection, choose topics that are both relevant to your job and interesting to you. Look at the prerequisites and curriculum to ensure the course is appropriate to your skill level; there is no point in being bored in an easy course or frustrated in a hard one.

Ask yourself what you want from MS Project training courses. In particular, look at your organization and your duties. Find ways in which Project can make your job easier and bring examples with you. Many instructors will be happy to incorporate real-life material from students in order to make the course relevant to them.

During the course

Dress comfortably. However remember that you are an informal representative of your organization so don't dress sloppily. Wear layers since you never know if the room will be too hot or too cold.

Show up on time or even early. Rushing in late can start the day on a sour note which will negatively affect your learning performance. It is better to be relaxed and settled when the course begins.

Participate. Ask questions if you don't understand something; odds are other people in the course don't understand it either. If the course uses team exercises, get involved in the solution rather than letting the rest of the team do it. Make personal contact with other students and ask them how they are going to be using the material.

Keep notes. Even if you never refer to them later, the simple act of writing something down imprints the information more firmly in your mind.

After the course

To retain what you have learned in MS Project training courses you must use it. Begin applying skills learned right away in your daily duties at work. Make the time to plan and implement changes to your methods that make use of the software. Probably more than any other software, Project requires a substantial up-front time commitment to create an effective plan. You will see time saving in the long run so take the time to do it right.

Keep in contact with at least one other student from the course. Get together by phone or better yet in person to talk about how you have used what you learned and what challenges you have faced. Sharing experiences with someone at your training level is an effective way to retain skills learned.