Stanislav Belyaev

Empowering Teams, Advancing Engineering

The effect of a missing bar

As a mentor for a Project Management course for beginners, I have graduated hundreds of students in the past year and have noticed an interesting effect. The school offers discounts through a government program and full-price payment. The attitude towards learning from these two groups of students is quite different.

Students with a granted discount:

  • complains about the discrepancy between the curriculum and the course content (that’s not true)
  • stand for their positions in case they have got feedback on how to improve their homework (it shows they are not ready to learn new, not open-minded)
  • can’t drop their education because, in their cases, they have to reimburse the course spends (merely the students continue wasting their time on unwanted )
  • argue about the stupid and unrelated Project Manager role tasks they have to pass to complete the module (i.e., write test cases for a product)
  • always asks how to and what to write in their homework to get the work accepted instead of elaborating on their decisions and practicing gained skills
  • etc.

Students who paid the total price:

  • they have an understanding of why they should do work for other roles
  • Share with other students their experience and understanding - they are highly involved in helping others
  • I haven’t heard complaints about tasks they have to work on during the course, but only questions about how the knowledge and skills might be helpful for them in their job
  • they have broad experience, frequently they think out of the box, and they try to apply their current skills in day-in and day-out work

The list is incomplete, and I can continue to iterate through the lots of cases, but I would like to recap my conclusions on it:

  • discounts attract people who love discounts. Customers only sometimes need your product.
  • a threshold bar with the minimum effort should help you avoid such random people on your product
  • even educational courses for beginners have an entry-level of required knowledge. Below that, a student won’t understand the content
  • something for free doesn’t mean valuable to you. Don’t fall for it
  • if the process is unavoidable for you, try to turn it into something even a bit useful and meaningful for you instead of wasting time and energy

Sorry if the findings are apparent to you :) I want to remind you about it from a different perspective.

Posted on LinkedIn