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Teaching Lean Manufacturing Concepts Using Physical Simulations Within Engineering Technology Program

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Mechanical ET Design & Projects

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1214.1 - 11.1214.11



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Paper Authors

author page

Alok Verma Old Dominion University

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

Teaching Lean Manufacturing Concepts using Physical Simulations within Engineering Technology Program


Physical Simulations have a proven record as a teaching tool. Concepts that are often hard to grasp are made easy by the use of physical simulation activities. The constructivism learning theory suggests that people learn better by actively participating in the process of learning. Effectiveness of simulation-based learning is well recognized. According to the Encyclopedia of Educational Technology, "Simulation-based learning involves the placement of a student into a realistic scenario or situation. The student is then responsible for any changes that occur as a result of their decisions."

The computer integrated manufacturing course in the mechanical engineering technology program was recently modified to include instruction in Lean manufacturing. A simulation based activity was developed to teach concepts in Lean manufacturing and their implementation within an organization. The simulation activity was developed and pilot tested with graduate students before being implemented within an undergraduate senior elective course. Student evaluations indicate a marked increase in learning and comprehension of Lean manufacturing concepts.

I. Introduction

Major mass and batch producers in the United States have adopted Lean manufacturing philosophy to minimize waste and improve operational efficiency1. However, universities are lagging behind in incorporating lean philosophy into their curriculum. A limited number of universities are offering graduate and undergraduate courses in Lean manufacturing. An initial survey of higher education indicated that only ten universities had a course in lean manufacturing and out of these only three were using physical simulation as a tool for teaching Lean.

The educational network within the Lean Aerospace Initiative has taken on the responsibility of developing and disseminating lean curriculum within higher education and bringing the group together to discuss issues related to its implementation. This effort is discussed later in section III.

A previously developed ship repair training program has been incorporated into a senior elective within the MET program to teach students about Lean philosophy and its implementation. This training program utilizes simulation activity to demonstrate the benefits of implementing Lean.

Verma, A. (2006, June), Teaching Lean Manufacturing Concepts Using Physical Simulations Within Engineering Technology Program Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--39

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