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Lean Learning

Lean approaches to organising work have been around for centuries, but only since the 1940’s have they been formalised into structures and methodologies that can be reproduced.

This page contains a gradually increasing set of resources and useful ideas around lean - particularly those that are relevant to the learning & development context.

Lean principles

Principles of Lean (Lean Enterprise Institute)

Lean is even more important in services than manufacturing (Industry Week blog post)

Defining waste in the lean system (Lean for Dummies)

Useful books

Lean in L&D

Training within Industry

An initiative developed by the US Government between 1940 and 1945 to address the severe skills shortage caused by conscription to the armed services.

One example cited often is that of creating lenses - which originally was a 5 month apprenticeship. After apply TWI approaches, the time to train a lens grinder was cut to 6 weeks.

Source: The Training Within Industry Report, 1940-1945

When invited to work with an organisation, TWI consultants worked through three main programmes:

  • Job Instruction - a course that “taught trainers (supervisors and experienced workers) to train inexperienced workers faster”
  • Job Methods - a course that “taught workers to objectively evaluate the efficiency of their jobs and to methodically evaluate and suggest improvements”
  • Job Relations - a course that “taught supervisors to deal with workers effectively and fairly.”


TWI formed the basis of the kaizen (continuous improvement) culture within Japan after the war, and was the forerunner of the Toyota Way - now seen as the examplar of all things lean.

Also see: TWI Institute > About TWI

Flow channel

How to create flow in elearning

Action Mapping

Action mapping - a visual approach to training design (Cathy Moore)

Flipped Classroom / Peer Instruction

Twilight of the lecture (Harvard Magazine)

Peer instruction (Wikipedia)

Just in time teaching (Wikipedia)

7 things you should know about flipped classrooms (Educause)


Campaign learning

Plan, Do, Study, Act

An iterative process for continuous improvement, based on small changes changes and tests.

NHS Institute > Plan, Do, Study, Act