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Online - Introduction to Lean Thinking and Practice

Lean thinking and practice helps organizations become both innovative and competitive, which in turn allows them to become sustainable. Lean is about creating the most value for the customer while minimizing resources, time, energy and effort. A lean approach to work is about understanding what’s really going on at the place where value is created, and improving the processes by which products and services are created and delivered.

This engaging, online, go-at-your-own-pace course is designed to give you an understanding of what lean is, what it might look like in your workplace, and how to start applying it.

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize where and how to apply lean principles, systems, and concepts, to increase value and eliminate waste in your daily work
  • Resolve business challenges by using scientific method, PDCA-based problem solving
  • Identify work activities as being “value-add,” “incidental,” or “waste” and understand how all three affect workflow
  • Understand the five dimensions of the Lean Transformation Framework and explain why all five are necessary for a transformation to occur

Your course professor is John Shook, Toyota’s first American manager in Japan and chairman of the Lean Enterprise Institute. Lessons are delivered in a variety of formats, including video, hands-on activities, readings by lean experts, and successful lean case studies.

This course works for people new to the concepts of lean and continuous improvement, for individuals looking to improve their lean understanding and skills, and for organizations wanting to level set the lean knowledge of their workforce to speed progress. Have questions about this course? Contact us at blackboard@lean.org.

Course Topics Include

Unit 1: Value
  • What is Lean?
  • Brief History of Lean
  • True North
  • Value and Waste
  • PDCA
Unit 2: Work
  • Basic thinking of Work
  • Problem solving
  • Value Stream
  • Flow
  • Push vs Pull
  • Kaizen
  • Gemba Walks
  • Spaghetti diagrams
  • 5S, Visual Workplace
  • Process Maps
  • Time Studies
  • Value Stream
  • Mapping
  • Standardized Work
  • Kanban
Unit 3: People
  • Developing Capability in People
  • Bad Process, Good People
  • Building Problem Solvers
Unit 4: Management Systems and Lean Leader Behavior
  • Leader Behavior
  • Management Systems
  • Leader Behaviors
  • Coaching
  • Humble Inquiry
  • Develop People
  • Go See, Ask Why, Show Respect
  • Hoshin
  • Connecting Macro with Micro
Unit 5: Basic Thinking
  • Basic Thinking
  • Improvement Must be Continuous
  • Utilizing Reflection

UMass Online Introduction to Lean Thinking and Practice

Please note, you have 120 days to access and complete this course.

About Our Partnership 

UMass Amherst Isenberg School of Management

Introduction to Lean Thinking and Practice is an innovative online course developed by the nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI), a global leader in lean management thinking and practice, in partnership with the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

With a mission to make things better through lean thinking and practice in order to create more value and prosperity while consuming the fewest possible resources, LEI conducts research, teaches educational workshops, publishes books and ebooks, runs conferences, and shares practical information about lean thinking and practice through lean.org.

The LEI/Isenberg School partnership will give you an exclusive educational opportunity to earn graduate level academic credit from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a companion course offered by the Isenberg School. By taking part in this partnership you’ll receive, among others, the following benefits:

  • A deeper understanding of Lean Management and how to sustain it
  • Access to LEI’s decades of thought-leading content and research about Lean Management
  • Learn from and engage with top-rated Isenberg faculty
  • Be better prepared to apply to the Isenberg MBA Program
  • Discounted tuition

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who should take this course?

  • Students and professionals with little to no lean knowledge who are interested in adding the benefits of lean to their resumes.
  • Professionals at any level who are familiar with lean and would like a back-to-basics “refresher” course on lean.

How do I register?

  • Click the 'Register' button in the top right corner of this page.

I’ve registered. Now what?

  • Two hours after purchase you can log onto Blackboard Learn by clicking here with the email you purchased with. First time users must set a password, do so by clicking here.
  • Once logged in, go to 'My Courses' and click on Introduction to Lean Thinking and Practice.

I'm having trouble accessing the course, where can I get help?

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How long is the course?

  • This course is about 30 hours and can be completed at your own pace within 90 days.

How long do I have to take the course?

  • You have 120 days from the first time you access Blackboard Learn.

Are certificates available upon completion?

  • Yes, upon completion of the course you will be given a certificate for completion PDF. Members at lean.org can also download the certifcate from their profiles.

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Suggested Reading for this Workshop:

Price: $500.00

Access to this online workshop can be purchased individually or in blocks. Individual student access and blocks of up to 9 students are $500.00 per student.

Larger access blocks are available at discounted prices.

10 - 49 students: $400.00/student
50 - 99 students: $350.00/student
100 - 499 students: $300.00/student
500 - 999 students: $275.00/student
1000+ students: $250.00/student

Cancelation Policy
Refunds will only be issued up to seven days after purchase. Contact the Lean Enterprise Institute at (617) 871-2900 for a refund.