lean education

Three Options for Deploying Lean Education within Your Organization

Posted on Posted in Culture

When rolling-out a new strategy, a process change or even something as culture-shifting as lean education, there are several options to consider regarding the method used to educate the intended audience. I’ve observed several types of deployment, and it is my belief that they all can serve a purpose. No one method is right or wrong — it all depends on the situation.

The following is a description of several lean education methods I’ve observed and a few pros and cons for each.

Boot Camp

This type of training usually involves several days of intensive training diving deep into the material. I’ve seen this method used in a couple of different ways. One organization provided the students with all of the material they would need in a couple of 10-hour days.  These session covered all the necessary information needed to go back to their organizations and lead a team of healthcare practitioners through the problem solving method.

  • Pros to this method include a succinct delivery of the information to all program participants. There is also group learning among peers and an efficient use of training resources.
  • Cons to this method can be a lack of action and follow-through once the training is done.


This type of training will place the student into the day-to-day hustle and bustle of a process improvement operation. The student becomes the practitioner while being closely monitored by the trainer. The end result I’ve observed in these models typically include a certification of some sort for the trainee.

  • Pros to this method include a new set of eyes to the inner workings of your process improvement operation.  This provides a quicker learning curve because the trainee is exposed to the material and concepts daily.  Additionally, participants are driven by the knowledge the training will benefit them professionally.
  • Cons to this method can be that the trainee may come from another internal department taking that person away from their regular day job, and there is a higher amount of resources that go into training someone on-the-job full time.

Just-in Time

This method uses a module format providing the class information based on where the teams are in a model of improvement.  I’ve observed organizations deliver this training by bringing team leaders together for training at defined milestones in the initiative.  There may also be just-in-time training occurring at team meetings prior to completing key tools designed to get information from team members

  • Pros – Teams receive the training that is needed to complete the next immediate phase of the problem solving process, teams are allowed to focus on what’s directly in front of them
  • Cons – Teams can easily get off on tangents and out of scope because they have not been informed of the bigger picture.

This can be countered with an initial overview of the entire problem solving process along with quick reviews at key milestones.

This is not a comprehensive list. Another method that comes to mind is virtual training that includes video conferencing from another location and computer-based modules that work at the user’s own pace. There are several platforms now available on the web that host these sort of applications for a wider reach.

What other forms of lean education have I not covered here? How have you seen them be effective? Non-effective?