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Enhancing a Blended Learning Approach to CAD Instruction Using Lean Manufacturing Principles

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Something New??? within Engineering Design Graphics Education

Tagged Division

Engineering Design Graphics

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.656.1 - 26.656.18



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Paper Authors


Derek M Yip-Hoi Western Washington University

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Dr. Yip-Hoi received his Ph.D. from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan in 1997. His dissertation research focused on developing Computer-Aided Process Planning methods and software tools to support automation of machining on Mill/Turn machining centers. In 2003 he joined the faculty of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of British Columbia. His appointment included a position as junior chair of the NSERC sponsored research program in Virtual Machining. After 3 ½ years at UBC, he moved to the Department of Engineering Technology at Western Washington University to focus on teaching. His teaching and scholarship interests lie in the areas of design, CAD/CAM and CNC machining. Since his arrival at WWU he has acted as coordinator of the CAD/CAM option in the Manufacturing Engineering Technology program and is currently director of the new Manufacturing Engineering Program.

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Jerimiah Gabriel Welch Western Washington University

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Jerimiah took his first CAD class at University of Washington in 2003. After that, he promptly joined the workforce. After working as an industrial designer at various firms, notably General Electric, he attended Western Washington University, receiving his design degree in 2008. Upon graduation, he started a company that developed Telepharmacy Systems, enabling hospitals to share pharmacist expertise over the internet. In 2012, after four years of bringing Telepharmacy to the United States and Canada, he retired and started teaching at Western Washington University. His interests in design, lean manufacturing, and programming influence his teaching style today.

Lean Manufacturing principles have been applied to many service industries that do not manufacture physical goods. Blended Learning techniques have increasingly been utilized in university courses. This paper explores the parallels between the two in the context of an introductory CAD course, discovering a “Lean Education” framework that uses Blended Learning techniques to serve Lean Manufacturing goals and philosophies.

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Enhancing a Blended Learning Approach to CAD Instruction Using Lean Manufacturing Principles The Department of Engineering and Design at Western Washington University has implemented a blended learning  methodology  in  its  introductory  Computer‐Aided  Design  course.  This  methodology  improves learning using a combination of techniques which improve the efficiency of delivery of course content while maximizing value‐added student activities where interactions with the instructor and TAs are prized. These  techniques  include  a  “flipped  classroom”  model,  on‐line  video  instructional  materials,  efficient content  modularization  and  customizability,  automated  feedback,  integrated  assessment  mechanisms and team‐based in‐class activities. A high proportion of class time is structured to support creative project work where students appropriate CAD skills by applying them to creative problem solving. It is the opinion of the authors that this blended learning methodology has the potential to provide a just‐in‐time delivery of instruction which can be customized to meet an individual student’s need. While traditional assessment techniques are designed to measure student course outcomes, and under the ABET accreditation model show fulfillment of overall program outcomes, they do little to measure the efficiency of instruction. Since there is an undeniable connection between the delivery mechanism and how  well  a  student  learns,  it  can  be  postulated  that  the  ability  to  measure  the  performance  of  this mechanism  and  to  adjust  this  in  a  systematic  way,  needs  to  be  an  integral  part  of  any  strategy  for improving student learning. In this paper we present an approach that looks to the body of work in Lean Manufacturing  to  provide  the  framework  and  principles  for  studying  the  performance  of  the  blended learning mechanism we have adopted.  The  Toyota  Production  System  identifies  Muda  (unnecessary  work),  Muri  (overburden)  and  Mura (unevenness) as the three contributors to waste in manufacturing. The goal of Lean Manufacturing is to control and ultimately eliminate these three sources of waste. This view of manufacturing can be applied to  the  delivery  mechanism  used  in  instruction.  For  example,  Muda  can  manifest  itself  in  repetitive instruction  needed  to  keep  students  with  different  learning  abilities  in  step.  Muri  can  result  from increasing class sizes where the instructor and TA are spread thin in their coverage of student needs. And, Mura can be created by the traditional approach to instruction where it is available only at scheduled times  and  in  a  specific  location.  Mitigating  these  inefficiencies  can  be  viewed  as  developing  a  Lean Education philosophy in the same way that lean principles have been applied to other disciplines outside of manufacturing such as in the health care, construction, distribution and service industries. This paper will review the blended learning approach developed for this introductory CAD course. Each activity performed and technique used by the instructor, TAs and students will be described and evaluated in  terms  of  the  lean  principles  discussed  in  the  previous  paragraph.  A  comparison  with  the  previous approach to delivering this content and information from student surveys will be provided. This will show that this new approach has improved the efficiency of instruction and learning in keeping with moving towards a Lean Education philosophy. Further, it will be shown that the evidence suggests an improved ability on the part of students to meet course outcomes, as a consequence.      

Yip-Hoi, D. M., & Welch, J. G. (2015, June), Enhancing a Blended Learning Approach to CAD Instruction Using Lean Manufacturing Principles Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23994

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