Lean in the Classroom : The Powerful Strategy for Improving Student Performance and Developing Efficient Processes book cover
1st Edition

Lean in the Classroom
The Powerful Strategy for Improving Student Performance and Developing Efficient Processes

ISBN 9781138323131
Published September 11, 2019 by Productivity Press
252 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The current way of organizing education is not tenable in the coming decade. We need to address how we teach, how we organize schools, how we increase the effectiveness of learning, how we construct classrooms, and how we deploy new technologies.

Lean management philosophy has been successfully applied across many industries – from manufacturing to healthcare, financial services, and construction. Recently, interest in Lean has steadily increased in the education sector, as it was originally introduced in that area’s administrative and support processes. Currently, the introduction of Lean and its potential in education is gaining wider exposure because of massive looming changes – for example, the introduction of technology in education (as EdTech within the traditional system and as MOOCs), demographic changes, budget pressure, new pedagogies, the entrance of more and more private providers, and changing demands of society and industry on the curriculum.

What is missing is a joint framework that will allow schools, teachers, directors, and boards to harness the potential of these developments and then execute a strategy. Lean Education (LE) offers the potential to streamline the execution of strategy and teaching. It accelerates the development of new courses and studies that are closely aligned to the needs of students. It supports the integration of new technologies without overburdening teachers and staff.

Lean in the Classroom brings all these elements together into a coherent framework so schools can make necessary changes in one concerted effort. Teaching, professional support, managing the daily work, and changing the way schools function are brought together as a schoolwide strategy to organize learning in a way that serves our students by making the most of their talents.

This book is the first to define LE in all its aspects: course design, actual teaching and learning processes, school management, and the organization of supporting processes. It is firmly based on the Lean management philosophy in conjunction with pedagogy. The book draws on both scientific research in the field of Lean management in general and Lean education in particular. In addition, it is predicated on many years of hands-on experience applying Lean both inside and outside the education sector.

Table of Contents

Introduction – Why Lean Education. PART I – Lean and Education. PART II – Lean in the Classroom. PART III – Teaching and support processes. PART IV – Hands-on: Cases and Best Practices.

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Vincent Wiegel -- Professor of Lean and World Class Performance at HAN University of Applied Science, The Netherlands -- is one of the leading experts in the field of Lean in the Netherlands and founder of and professor at the Research Group for Lean & World Class Performance.

As a professor, Vincent Wiegel is involved in Lean education and initiates research into the effectiveness of Lean implementations. Besides his wide range of general knowledge and experience, his specific expertise is in Lean product development, Lean in non-manufacturing environments and use of Lean in the healthcare sector. He is both an economist and a philosopher, and as a professor he encourages businesses to develop Lean capability and use that capability to drive continuous improvement. He applies his expertise at a range of different types of organisations, those that offer financial services or produce fast-moving consumer goods, healthcare institutions, educational institutions and in the manufacturing industry. His experience with applying Lean covers the full scope from the factory floor to the boardroom, and from SMEs to multinationals.

Restructuring processes -- Restructuring processes are needed to apply Lean at businesses, particularly at SMEs. A vital factor is a thorough and comprehensive approach involving strategy definition, process improvement and operational control. As part of the Lean & World Class Performance Research Group, Vincent Wiegel initiates research into the effectiveness of Lean implementations, particularly at SMEs and educational and healthcare institutions, by having those institutions work together with other knowledge institutes, lecturers, researchers and graduating students. He is also closely involved in the development of Lean education at HAN.


"Dealing with inequality and maximising chances for all children requires the best education can muster. However, in practice we see an enormous amount of time and talent of both teachers and students wasted. Taking a Lean perspective helps to empower teachers and improve educational outcomes. Close to a thousand schools, supported by the leerKRACHT-foundation, experience this power of Lean every day. This book adds a valuable new perspective on Lean and education."

Jaap Versfelt
Founder of leerKRACHT and former senior-partner at McKinsey & Company


"Professor Wiegel's workshops provided inspiration and plenty of lightbulb moments on how to transform university education to meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century."

Dr. Lizann Bonnar
Vice Dean (Academic), Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Strathclyde
Senior Teaching Fellow, School of Psychological Sciences and Health, University of Strathclyde


"The application of Lean in education has historically focused on nonacademic and academic support processes. Wiegel provides the first insightful, comprehensive, and practical approach integrating Lean in the core academic processes of teaching, learning, and curriculum development. This book provides a framework, based on research and practice, which demonstrates how faculty, academic programs, and educational institutions can apply Lean as a strategy to the mutual benefit of students, teachers, and the educational process."

William K. Balzer, Ph.D.
Professor of Industrial – Organizational Psychology
Vice President, Faculty Affairs and Strategic Initiatives
Bowling Green State University


"Workshops delivered by Professor Wiegel quickly clarify how powerful the use of Lean management philosophy is in the context of Education. His expertise and enthusiasm is inspiring."

Professor Debbie Willison, Ph.D. CChem FRSC PFHEA
Vice Dean (Academic), Faculty of Science University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland


"As the Chair of Lean HE and as a lean practitioner here in Edinburgh Napier University I am so excited about Vincent's new book. We know how Lean can unlock many benefits for universities and I have seen real improvements with applying Lean approaches in universities. Many Lean practitioners focus on the office operational and service processes upon which universities, their students, teachers, and researchers rely. Vincent's work cuts to the heart of education however, focusing on the learning process itself. As a leader in designing innovative educational processes, Vincent is in a unique position to tell this story, which has the real potential to transform how we educate our people at every stage and critical to how we approach the challenges ahead of us."

Steve Yorkstone
Chair for the Lean Higher Education Global Committee, Business Improvement Consultant, Edinburgh Napier University