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Activity Based Learning Simulation For Industrial Engineering

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Industrial Engineering Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.143.1 - 9.143.12



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Paper Authors

author page

Rebecca Blust

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session #: 1557

Activity Based Learning - Wagons R Us – A Lean Manufacturing Simulation Rebecca P. Blust University of Dayton,

J. Bill Bates Wright Patterson Air Force Base


There is no substitute for experience. As educators, we cannot teach our students “experience”. However, are able to provide an environment that simulates real world problems and fosters creative thinking and the development of possible solutions. Activity based learning is built upon this premise. Active learning is explained by Bonwell and Eison as, the students “are doing things and thinking about what they are doing”.1

To accomplish this, a group of Engineering Technology students were challenged to apply the lean manufacturing concepts learned in class to a pre-designed production simulation. The simulation, “Wagons R Us”, required the students to assemble wagons using K’NEX plastic components as their raw materials.

The simulation begins by having students participate in and observe an extreme case of a traditional production system. According to Dr. Ann Stalheim-Smith, “active learning is not a spectator sport”.2 Therefore, the exercise required each student to actively participate. Students were divided into teams, given the constraints of the system and had one week to implement a more efficient lean manufacturing system. Student teams had to identify the different types of waste associated with the existing simulation and redesign the process to eliminate non-value added activity throughout the process.

During the competition, each team would simulate production for thirty minutes. In some cases, the students had to renegotiate their union contract to facilitate improvements made to the manufacturing process. The team that produced the highest number of good wagons with the least amount of labor would be the winner. Points were awarded for the teams that produced the most quality products in the most efficient manner. The students witnessed first hand the importance of lean manufacturing, waste identification and elimination and teamwork in a successful manufacturing system.

Proceedings of the 1004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Blust, R. (2004, June), Activity Based Learning Simulation For Industrial Engineering Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13774

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