Lean Thinking and Instructional Design

Several months ago I took a 40 hour workshop on leading continuous improvement and problem-solving efforts. The workshop was heavily influenced by lean thinking in general and the Toyota Production Process (TPS) in particular. I learned about lean concepts and tools such as one-piece flow, visual control (5S), leveling, and muda (waste).  The concepts I learned about and the hands-on, scientific approach to every day problem-solving were eye-opening for me and have no doubt left a big indention in me ol’ cranium.  

As you may (or may not) know, “lean” has had profoundly positive impacts within many organizations, dramatically improving efficiency and profitability. Although applied mostly in manufacturing environments, lean has also had successful results in other organizations, such as restaurants, and, perhaps most dramatically, in health care settings. So, I started thinking, if this methodology and tool set has had such an impact on other processes, what are the implications for instructional design and development?

That is one of the things keeping my mental cogs moving lately, and one of the topics I will be reaching out about to fellow instructional designers and other workplace learning types in the blogosphere. So….if you have any thoughts, ideas, or experience with applying lean thinking to instructional design, I would love to hear from you. Tell me your stories!

Looking forward….




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