Lean in education or How cars manufacturing can help teachers do work better?

Just a little more than a month ago we was asked by Romsdal videregående skole, upper secondary school in Molde about Lean implementation to help them better motivate students and improve quality of education.

Before starting the work on the project we have had a presentation from school council about school’s history, mission, passion and objective. Also, about new building construction as on the picture above. There are 140 teachers and 770 students there. They have their own library, canteen and sports center. But what was really surprised me, they have a real car workshop with all equipment needed to open a new business in repair and restoration:)

Well, there I found a lot of interesting things and ideas can be implemented in other countries, like Belarus. But, anyway, it need a lot of investments and gives indirect advantages, so probably unlikely be implemented.

So, to not waste you time, I put my executive summary here and the rest can be found at the full report under.

1. Executive Summary

Develop and support the innovation process culture at Romsdal Upper School.

1.1. Preferred Option

Creating the future is not possible without everyday work, updates and changes. And this changes should come from both: school staff and students. Motivation both this sides is one of the most important objectives to drive changes in educational process, lab’s workspace and, even, material to be taught. Implementing Lean approach and some technics, such as 5S, can help to drive changes faster and in standard manner; at the same time with increasing teachers’ and students’ motivation to generate new ideas and have a primary role in implementing innovations.

This plan propose the following objectives as a starting point for Lean approach integration and improvements for current processes:

  • improve stakeholder’s motivation (students, teachers, etc.)
  • time and movement elimination wasts at lab studies and exercises
  • make equipement and laboratory environment standard for propriate classes

Successful Lean implementation shows impressive results: increased stakeholders’ motivation, time savings for product manufacturing and delivering service, save money and increase productivity. In case of educational system, Lean methods can help build process to bring innovation into educational process, increase students’ interest in subject and motivation in an everyday studies. Anyway, any strategic plan has it’s own risks and should try to eliminate it. Beyound expectation, too much time before the real results can be visible, expensive trainings and consultations or high resource-intensiveness can eliminate everything was achieved before or even revert all perspective undertakings.

To achieve all objectives and avoid risks this plan propose several steps in Lean implementation strategy: (1) school staff’s trainings and workshops, (2) implement 5S methodology at practical lab’s workspace and (3) organise time logging for every staff member to find more deeply wastes can be eliminated.

For strategy plan implementation Romsdal Upper School will need mostly staff attention to details, patience and time. They had to learn new methodology and to find out how organically implement any selected Lean methods in everyday school activity and classes.

For plan to be successfully implemented the support from all school staff members needed: from teacher to the principal. The best it would be to start with 1 selected department: electricity. Starting with the only one department and involvement of every staff member will be the best option in this case.

1.2. Alternatively

Visiting another school in Norway has already succeed in Lean implementation can be a good way to start believe in realism and effectiveness of this program (strategic plan). And choosing the only one method and trying this on a selected class can test and prove the Lean methodology implementation usefullness. This option minimize financial and wastes risk for the school team to have a taste of Lean technology.

Hope this plan will be helpful for any other school that concern about quality of education and looking for new methods to improve students involvement and motivation. Looking forward to hear your feedback, ideas for further work and implementation questions.

Have a nice day!
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