ASQ - Education Division

Teaching Lean Six Sigma with Service Learning

Abstract: This paper by Janet Braun of Western Washington University, is part of the 2013 ASQ Advancing the STEM Agenda Conference proceedings.

In learning and applying the Lean Six Sigma methodology and tools, the challenges of clearly defining a problem and then systematically driving down to find the root causes are better experienced than talked about in the classroom.

To improve student learning of this subject, the author incorporated a problem-based service-learning project in the course. Student teams were paired with community non-profit organizations that have no significant knowledge of Lean Six Sigma methodology and little or no resources to spend on process improvement. Each team worked on a unique problem from definition through the recommendation of improvements.

A preliminary assessment was conducted using student surveys. 80% of students agreed that this project helped them see how to apply the Lean Six Sigma tools and methodology and 69% agreed that it helped them better understand the course content. Additional assessment will be conducted by following the 36 students that were in this class through their senior capstone course to determine to what extent they exhibit evidence of learning from this course. Additionally, another class of students will be given the same experience and assessed in the same manner.

Keywords: STEM - Conference Proceedings - Teaching Quality - Lean/Six Sigma/DMAIC

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