How Online Learning wins over onsite workshops

Back in August 2018 I wrote a blog entitled ‘Classroom vs. Online Learning – Which one is better?’ In that blog I proposed a balanced view of the role of each in a student’s approach to lifelong learning. Little did any of us know then how radically life, and our education landscape, would change in the meanwhile. For an SME like Lean Ireland, as vulnerable to the impact of the COVID pandemic as any other SME dependent on on-site work or customer footfall, we were blindsided by lockdown in March this year. However, we are lean organisation and that means agile and responsive to our customers’ needs!

Gone are the days of dodgy internet connections, longwinded one-way lectures and learning by reading the slides. Today’s online student is discerning, demanding and ready to get involved. It has taken hundreds of man hours to convert our material to be more visually appealing, to incorporate polls and assessments, and to invest in, and structure, the learning management system (LMS) for secure participant enrolment and ease of navigation. 

In 2020 so far at Lean Ireland we have designed, customised, facilitated and assessed student learning on the following range of online courses:

  • A3 problem solving
  • Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA)
  • Design of Experiments (DOE)
  • Project Management
  • Certified lean six sigma yellow belt (LSSYB)
  • Certified lean six sigma green belt (LSSGB), and
  • Value Stream mapping (VSM).

DOE online? You’ve got to be kidding! Well that’s what I though too at first, and it has turned out to be our most popular and best attended course so far. On November 2nd we start yet another iteration hosted by the First Polymer Training Skillnet in Athlone. Here’s how and why it works:

  • All webinars are hosted live
  • In-webinar comprehension question polls provide opportunity to identify knowledge gaps and provoke fruitful discussion
  • Participants all get to conduct several DOE’s on the learning journey, in their own time, by using an online simulation tool
  • Assignments conducted using the simulation tool allow participants to put the theory into practice, and enables the tutor to support participants who may be struggling
  • Participants receive live hosted tuition on understanding, influencing and analysing a real live DOE in progress at the FPT Skillnet site, and not least
  • Recordings of all webinars allows infinite access to full explanations of the course theory, discussion and Q&A.

All of the above features are in addition to having easy intuitive and secure access to the course material on the learning management system (LMS).

To date, participants on our courses have ranged from university undergraduates participating in large groups, to senior management teams anxious to exploit the COVID lull in business to learn how to implement lean agility in the workplace. The courses have featured both local and global audiences, across healthcare manufacturing, public service, financial services, third level education, food processing and professional services. In short, online learning is appealing to a wide range of audiences for an even wider range of reasons.

Often previously regarded as the poor relation to workshop-based learning, online learning now dominates all sectors and strata of training and education worldwide. It is likely to be so for the next 18 months or more and will continue to have much great significance and impact than in pre COVID times. We’ve learned a lot in the past 6 months on an intensive yet rewarding journey. As Darwin’s theory in the Origin of Species has been paraphrased ’It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself’.  Stay safe and be careful out there, we have a while to go yet to survive this pandemic. Meanwhile if we can support your learning journey be sure to call us. We are here to help.

© Bernie Rushe, BSc, CPIM, Dip SA, MSc, Black Belt, +353-87-2837810

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