I believe I can help you with these questions, and hopefully this will help with your studies.
In response to your first question, projects and programs can seem similar, as they both deliver a change and have a business case, as well as having a certain goal in mind.
However, programs actually consist of lots of projects, and are managed as a single unit. Programs often have an uncertain ‘outcome’ such as, for example, a collection of data that can be analysed. This outcome is the hoped for result of all the projects in the program, and so program risk can be high.
Projects are much more well-defined and certain. A typical project will be made up of a team of people with a common goal (for example, to build a bridge, create a website), and this outcome will usually be certain - something you can touch or see.
Programs will also have a ‘program manager’ who will manage the various project managers, and a program tends to last a long time, being split into ‘phases’. A very good example of a program happening in Malaysia at the moment is the East Coast Economic Region program. This program consists of many transport, infrastructure, real estate and environmental projects, which hopefully will have a good growth/economic outcome for the region.
To answer your second question, there isn’t really a ‘best’ project management methodology, and it would perhaps depend on the type of project you are applying the method to.
Two of the most common methods used worldwide are PRINCE2 and Agile, but they are both different from one another, and each method has its own benefits and pitfalls.
PRINCE2 is very much focussed on planning and deadlines, and can be applied to any project in any industry. You can find out more here: http://www.whatisprince2.net/
Agile has an approach which fits in more specifically with the software/IT sector, due to its flexibility and greater ability to adapt to sudden changes. It is a method which is fast becoming very popular.
My managing director, who is a highly experienced project manager, has written a very good article about whether PRINCE2 or Scrum (Agile) is the best method. You can read his article here: http://www.knowledgetrain.co.uk/blog/pr ... arison.php
I hope this is helpful, and good luck with your research!