Lean Training Approaches That Work

June 21, 2022
By Darren Dolcemascolo

What is the objective of lean training?  If we want our team to become proficient in the principles and practices of lean, how do we teach them?  Lean practitioners generally agree that lean is best learned by doing, but how is this done?  In this article we will talk about some effective approaches to lean learning.

In-Person Classroom Training Combined with Hands-On Exercises: For many years our standard approach to teaching lean was to teach concepts in basic in-person settings and then have the participants work in teams to apply the learning.  First they might apply the learning to case examples/case studies and then perhaps to simulation exercises or, in the case of direct to client training, actual application in the gemba, which could be the factory floor, clinical setting or office setting.  This proven approach works very well because students can immediately apply what they have learned.  It becomes even more effective when participants continue to practice lean with direct 1:1 coaching utilizing a problem solving process.

Hybrid In-Person Classroom and Lean Training Online Combined with Hands-On Exercises: Another approach that we have used since the first decade of the 2000’s is similar to the above approach; however, less time is spent in the classroom because some of the training is delivered via self-paced lean e-learning.  This approach has the advantage of less time spent in classroom and a higher percentage of in-person time spent applying the learning.  The only downside is the discipline to complete the self-paced learning between in person sessions to maximize the time spent in classroom.

Hybrid Virtual Classroom and E-Learning Including Hands-On Exercises: Since the 2020 pandemic ensued, we have offered this approach and have done quite a bit of training over the 2020 – 2022 period using this approach.  To make a virtual classroom approach work, the live sessions need to be 2 hours maximum, and they need to be very active.  We utilize Miro to create a workspace for participants to apply the learning.  The same types of case studies can be used in this setting as in-person and systems like Miro make the learning very interactive and very effective.  In some ways engagement is higher.  This approach becomes much more effective with 1:1 coaching, which we include in programs like our Virtual Lean Certification program.  The 1:1 coaching allows the participants to receive direct feedback and guidance while practicing lean in their own work environment.

E-learning with Coaching: We have offered self-paced lean training since 2009, and these programs are very effective at teaching the basic concepts and practices of lean.  They have the advantages of 24/7 accessibility and avoiding scheduling conflicts.  However, to be effective they should be combined with coaching, either by the instructor/trainer or an in-house lean practitioner.

To learn more about our training programs visit our lean training site.


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