Blended Learning in Practice

12 October 2020

A case study of Lean Six Sigma Blended Learning

Blended Learning
Here at The Productivity Company, we obviously strongly believe in the potential of online courses, and their many applications for the transfer of knowledge and professional self-development. One of those applications is Blended Learning, which is when classroom courses are supported by and supplemented with digital learning tools and methods. We believe that as a method for knowledge transfer, blended learning has gone woefully unappreciated, and has not gotten the attention it deserves. After all, it offers possibilities that can’t be found in either classical learning or online courses by themselves.

Ron van der Reest, Buro RNR
A great example of blended learning’s potential can be found in the Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt classroom course provided by Buro RNR. For this training, Ron van der Reest, founder of Buro RNR, decided to supplement his training with The Lean Six Sigma Company’s e-learning Yellow Belt course. In doing so, he has managed to seamlessly blend the theory and structure of the e-learning module with the more in-depth and practice-based aspects of his classroom course, creating a course that benefits from the strengths of both learning methods, yet suffers from neither of their weaknesses.

Course Set-up
When designing his blended training course, Ron’s goal was to use the digital learning methods to make more room in his classroom course for in-depth discussion of topics, case studies and peer-to-peer learning. He managed to accomplish this by mirroring the structure of his classroom course to the online course and having his students prepare by following the online course up to the exam. This allowed them to formulate questions beforehand and let him know what subjects they hoped to spend more time on during the classroom component.

Because of the strong overlap in structure and content between the online and classroom courses, the students found themselves on familiar ground when it came to the concepts, methods and tools. This allowed Ron to focus more deeply on practice, and help bring the theory to life. At the end of the course, the students finished the digital exam, which, due to the in-depth tutoring, was easily completed with a 100% success rate.

Theory and Practice
This set-up ensured that when the students started the classroom course, they were already well-prepared and had a very solid understanding of the foundations of Lean Six Sigma. At this point they were, in a sense, no longer complete novitiates, as they had already developed a strong familiarity with the Lean Six Sigma jargon and philosophy, and were now more than ready to delve deeper into the methodology.
During the classroom training no time had to be spent on dry theory; this had already been done in a dynamic and engaging way during the e-learning phase, including even the often less accessible statistical concepts such as Variation and Six Sigma. This allowed Ron to spend all of his time on discussing practical case studies, and giving a more in-depth and practice-based explanation of the theory behind it all.

Motivation for Blended learning
This increased focus on practice and depth was exactly the reason why Ron decided to embrace blended learning. A practical trainer and advisor to the core, Ron always prefers to leave behind the dry and stuffy recital of theoretical concepts in his courses and move on to the more practical and lively aspects of Lean Six Sigma as quickly as possible.

“At my core I’ve always been a practical trainer. Theory alone doesn’t mean much to me; I like to see things in their application rather than just have it summed up for me. I want to be able to see it in real life. That’s always been my motivation for training; people have to be able to imagine it in real life, and have to learn to apply it in a practical way. I try to teach by way of case studies and practical examples, and have people experience the subject matter for themselves.” -Ron van der Reest

Successful training
After reading up to this point, it should come to no surprise to you that Ron’s blended training was a great success, with the newly certified Yellow Belts now ready to enter the world of Lean Six Sigma with justified confidence and ambition. Thanks to the seamless blending of online courses and classroom tutoring, they now enjoy the fruits of an ideally structured and executed training in Lean Six Sigma.

Blended Learning for everyone!
Naturally this doesn’t only apply to Yellow Belt courses, or Lean Six Sigma for that matter. Based on this wonderful success story, our faith in the world of opportunity that is offered by blended training has only been renewed and invigorated. We see an opportunity to apply this learning structure for an even greater number of Lean Six Sigma methods of tools, and a ton of other productivity-based subjects. In summation, it’s clear that blended learning has a bright future ahead of it, one in which we hope to play an important!