iSixSigma

E-Learning

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  • #33416

    ellzey
    Member

    As a 6 Sigma neophyte, I’d Like to know if anyone else has experience ith on-line learning.
    I just want to learn (then maybe introduce the process in my work places – I am a management consultant).
    Any information will be greatly appreciate (I am about to sign for a course @ $750, but am concerned that they may not be recommended by this “panel of experts”.
    Sincerely,
    Susan

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    #90341

    Martínez
    Participant

    Hi,I learned my Six Sigma at GE before I moved out to implement the initiative at another organization. I have had experience both with online and class room training for Six Sigma at and outside GE and here is my advise:A- Online training is OK for leadership folks and senior/middle managers but only as far as awareness program goes.B- Online training for green belts (part time resources) who need to learn and then apply six sigma in their work, is NOT very effective but if you can not get classroom training , this can be tried with some compromise or there will need to be experts available within or outside the organization who can come to your help at the time of difficulty in application.C- Online training for black belts/master black belts will be a disaster if not combined with extensive classroom / trainer led training. There is no substitute to classroom environment and the experience sharing in person face to face is the most effective way (yet) for maximum effect.D- Online training as a regular refresher, or for introducing add on concepts (like Lean with Six Sigma) can be done through elearning route.Hope this helps……….

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    #90406

    Tony Burns
    Member

    Dear Susan,
    I’ve been involved in this area for the past 14 years. If you’d like to email me I can help you with some articles and other information.
    Dr Tony Burns
    [email protected]
     

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    #90410

    lin
    Participant

    If you were only working with one eLearning product, your sample size is really only one even though there were multiple students, so it probably is not fair to generalize to all eLearning.   If you had a classroom experience with a crummy teacher, would you conclude that all classroom training doesn’t work?  In my experience there is substantial variability between the available Six Sigma eLearning products along every dimension you can think of: instructional design, technology, cost, content, support, etc.  So Susan will need to do some homework and talk to people with actual first-hand experience (and hopefully some data) from working with the range of available products. 

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    #90411

    Tony Burns
    Member

    MMB,
    I would assume your comments apply to a particular e-learning product with which you have had experience. Making general statements is like saying “green belts can’t learn from books”. Certainly, green belts might find “Advanced Topics in SPC” rather intimidating but there is much material designed to suit every level.
    I have seen e-learning to be extremely effective with folk below leadership level. In fact this is where e-learning can do what it does do best, in providing training to thousands of people in a consistent manner. When well designed with games, exercises and a high level interactivity, it can also be much more motivating than a blackboard.
    It is a far more cost effective way to train than the classroom. It allows people’s spare time to be used, rather than taking them off the job. Students can work at their own pace.
    Most importantly, it relieves teachers to focus on what they should be doing. Teachers should help apply the knowledge, rather than simply repeating the same material over and over to different groups.
    Nothing is a panacea, but e-learning is an important complement to other forms of training and experience.
    If you would like to email me, I can send you volumes of evidence of the success of e-learning at all levels in many organisations.
    Dr Tony Burns
    [email protected]

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    #90521

    John J. McDonough
    Participant

    Susan,
    I think Mike has it closest, but there is not only variability in e-learning products, there is variability in organizations receiving the training.
    I’ve seen e-learning very effective for green belts, but this is in an organization where green belts have black belts and MBBs they can go to for help. If your organization leaves green belts hanging in the breeze, it might not be enough.  E-learning is also very effective to expose the great masses who may be only peripherally involved in Six Sigma projects.
    My inclination is to agree with MBB when it comes to Black Belts and MBBs, however.  I find it a little difficult to imagine e-learning being effective for folks who need to be so immersed in the methodology.  Of course, that could simply be my experience talking, which is certainly different from yours, and everyone else’s for that matter.
    –McD
     

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    #90523

    Bruce Lindeman
    Participant

    Dr. Burns,
    I’m also looking at getting certified asa BB.  Online learning is attractive to me as a father of infant twins.  Getting out of the house to attend classes for 16 weeks is out of the question for me personally right now.
    Any suggestions on proven, credible programs? 
    Thanks in advance!
    Bruce Lindeman

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    #90528

    iSixSigma Community
    Participant

    This is a reminder to participants of this discussion forum. Promotion of your services and products is prohibited on this forum. See our policy on promoting products and services: https://www.isixsigma.com/forum/products_services.asp
    If you violate these guidelines, you will have your privileges to post suspended.
    iSixSigma Community

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    #90529

    Margaret
    Participant

    Hi, Susan,We are a provider of elearning for Six Sigma (as few other posters in this forum) and have concluded that SSBB course has to contain a project (preferrably directly  from your job) that you use to apply all your SSBB skills learned in elearning. This project should be evaluated by a Six Sigma trainer. Without this practical aspect we think the usefulness of elearning for SSBB is limited.
    From our experience and student feedback we also think that elearning can be best for mathematical methods (SPC, DOE) supported by many practical examples. A lot of people find mathematical methods very challenging and this is where self-paced practical courses do much better than classroom-based courses as you can go through the same topics with examples few times taking your time till you gain a better understanding.
    I hope this helps. I know you would like a specific recommendation from the students but I think it may be difficult to find them. For 95% of our students our courses are their first elearning experience. Despite the hype not many people have put elearning to good use yet.
    Best regards,Margaret
     
     

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    #90531

    etiquette
    Participant

    For the sake of consistency, if you are going to enforce rule #2 of the etiquette guide, please enforce rule #6 as well.  The personal attacks from a few individuals are far more blatant and obnoxious than the promotion of materials.

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    #90545

    Mikel
    Member

    Perhaps you should consider that elearning is not really a good vehicle instead of saying “Despite the hype not many people have put elearning to good use yet”.
    My point is this type of learning has got to best suited to people who really want to learn the subject matter. This is not going to be the situation in a company that has chosen a non-personal approach to make their company better (I believe this comes under Deming’s hope for instant pudding).
    People have to be convinced and to do this you need experienced person in front of them reading their understanding. Electronic solutions will never be a substitute for face to face. Why do you think people still fly across oceans for two hour meetings?

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    #90546

    Mikel
    Member

    I want to commend Margaret for establishing herself as a provider without promoting herself or her company. This is the way it should be. Although I don’t agree about E-Learning, I respect Margaret.
    Dr. Tony, this is the right way to do it. Will you still post when you can’t promote? My bet is you will not.

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    #90547

    BP
    Participant

    To say that e-learning is not a good vehicle is much the same as those that join this post to say the six-sigma is not a good vehicle.  It is all in the application.
    As stated in earlier posts, the term ‘e-learning’ varies from glorified PowerPoint shows to truly interactive, instructor-led, web-based platforms that combine the best (and worst) of both worlds.
    I have used extensive e-learining and CBT platforms in a variety of arenas and have had tremendous success.  I think MoreSteam (I have no affiliation with this program so put the claws away…) has a nice product that could be used a refresher/supplement.  For most cases, I wouldn’t use it as a standalone.
    The real question with e-learning depends on:
    1. The audience – will it enhance or hinder their understanding of the material?
    2. The product – what level of support, interaction, and interest does the vendor show it making it work in your organization?
    3. Has it ever been done before?  If you organization hasn’t used e-learning before, six-sigma probably isn’t the best place to experiment.  There will more than likely be too much change management/culture adjustment going on already without throwing the e-learining curve in their as well.

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    #90553

    lin
    Participant

    Don’t limit yourself to either-or thinking.  Most of the action in the eLearning universe surrounds the question of how best to combine classroom instruction with eLearning in a blended approach to acheive the benefits of both worlds.  Ideally, the blend varies to reflect the individual’s learning style and prior experience.  Those with a strong background in process improvement and a technical orientation do well with a higher mix of eLearning.  Those who lack a background context of process improvement experience need much more face-to-face exposure.  In either case, eLearning that is interactive and instructor-supported works better.  I am in the eLearning business, so my comments are admittedly biased – as are the comments from those who have a vested interest in classroom training, who may not have even experienced good eLearning.

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    #90593

    Gastala
    Participant

    Hi
    I’m Margaret’s partner and I’d like to add a few thoughts to Margaret’s response to Susan’s query
    We believe that a SSBB course must contain a work-based project, and each student must be coached one-on-one with this project. That means the coach must be familiar with the project and study the data in depth.
    Being an effective black belt is difficult, even for university graduates. Students typically show three major weaknesses; not being data driven (taking the confident assertions of the process owners at face value); not seeing ‘obvious’ clues in the data that require follow up; not observing the process closely (seeing what they think happens, rather than what actually happens). It really needs a good, and attentive, coach to challenge and stretch them. This may be possible by electronic communication, but it is very time consuming.
    The classical model for the six sigma methodology is aimed at the large corporate organisation, and is driven by the senior management. It involves a very significant investment in recruitment and training.
    Susan sounds to be typical of our online students. She does not work for an organisation that provides access to Master Black Belts, nor will it fund extensive study. She wants to explore the methodology for herself to find out if and how, it applies to her organisation.
    Susan will find many of the tools used by six sigma very valuable in their own right (they were around long before six sigma). She will also find that the DMAIC approach is very systematic and effective and will yield excellent results if (and it’s a big ‘if’) it is applied in a disciplined, data driven, manner.
    When it comes to on-line learning, I find it is particularly suited to mathematically based topics such as SPC, DOE, MSA and so on. Well designed courses can use simulations and activities that are not practical in face to face courses. Questions from students can also usually be expressed in ways that are appropriate to electronic communication. For example, students email me a spreadsheet with their analysis from a simulation. I correct it, comment appropriately and send it back. I can’t do that face to face.
    Mathematical subjects take time to absorb, the natural pace of a face to face class is too fast. The students may grasp the essentials but then have to go home and study to consolidate it. This often prevents face to face students from asking questions, by the time they think of them the opportunity has passed.
    I teach these subjects face-to-face to undergraduate and mature-age postgraduate university students, to industry practitioners on short courses and workshops, through distance learning (with email support) and through online learning. I’d say that online learning is the most effective.
    In the case of the ‘softer’ topics (QFD, FMEA etc.) the situation is different. The face to face workshop can take advantage of the group dynamics in activities (it is very easy to give the students a taste of brainstorming in a face-to-face workshop, how do you do it online?).
    For that reason many of the offerings that I’ve seen in that area use what is effectively a Power Point presentation format together with multi-choice questions. Fair enough to introduce the topic, but does not give the depth necessary to make best use of it in the workplace.
    In summary, all types of learning have their strengths and weaknesses. It depends on the subject matter and the options that are available to the learner. 
    Regards
    Glen
     

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    #90607

    Mikel
    Member

    Glen,
    Well put. You and Margaret are to be commended for your approach and also you honesty in talking about the weaknesses.
    I believe a highly motivated student can and will learn in an electronic format. I worry about the company that uses this format on everybody. The results will be substandard and the loss of return will not justify the purchased cost savings. It is fair to note that I think the same thing about most of the consultants on these pages – johnny come lately trying to make a fast buck. You get what you pay for.

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    #90616

    Ron
    Member

    E learning is a convenient and cost effective way to check a box. The tranfer of knowledge is unknown and in the case of the six sigma programs checking the box is the last thing one needs.
    I have experienced first hand ( GE) and (Motorola) how good systems have been bastardized by e-learning to the point where Motorola has practicvally lost the recipe for six sigma.
    At GE it is very difficult to find a True Master Blackbelt. There is a huge difference in interactive learnig and e-learning. If your tranfer of knowledge is not demonstrated and tested in new and unusual circumstance the transfer is very shallow, especially for adult learning.
    The attractive thing about e-learning is that it is cheap! In my experience a company that fosters e-learning has demonstrated a lack of comprehension of the critical need for interaction in adult learning.
    If you have any examples of actual effective e-learning situation in the six sigma area. I would enjoy the opportunity to review them.
     
    Thanks

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    #90623

    Joy Cowling
    Participant

    Stan,
    I think you hit the nail on the head with your comment about e-learning being good for people who really want to learn the subject matter.  I am involved in a graduate program that is 100% online.  We have only one required face to face (two day seminar) in the 20 month program.  It is a collaborative learning model that is incredible.  I can honestly say that I have never had a more powerful learning experience. I wasn’t a believer when I started…just knew it was the only way I was going to accomplish the degree with my work and family commitments.  I have been converted and then some.  For this program, I don’t think I could possibly learn more in a face to face environment.  There are obviously advantages to face to face time, but if done right, I think e-learning can be just as powerful.
    However, I have never been able to convince myself that e-learning (regardless of the format) is good for Six Sigma.  I can’t imagine wading through that without the interactions, hands on exercises and the one on one help that a face to face program provides.
    So…e-learning can work and IS a good model for the right person and for the right material.  I’m certainly not convinced that Six Sigma fits the bill.
    Joy

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    #107329

    Carsten
    Participant

    I know that Seagate Technology has launched an extensive E-Learning program which has been rolled out across the whole of Asia. Their ROI is >1000% according to their responsible MBB. Now the program is even delivered to all their global suppliers.
    Another example I am aware of is the DBS Bank who launched their blended learning solution 2 years back and state that it has been hugely successful.
     
    Let me know in case you need more info on any of those 2.

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    #107332

    Nobody Expert
    Participant

    For the next 5 months I will take part in two intensive (GB+BB) certified on-line programs .What is your advice in this regard,thanks and regards. 

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    #107335

    Carsten
    Participant

    Hi Nobody, not sure, depends whether you are doing it on your own or if your company is sending you through these courses. I am a strong believer in blended solutions for the green belt. E-Learning typically helps to shorten the learning time considerably and takes away the heavy lifting and the theoretical part of Six Sigma. Practical sessions should still be part of the learning.
    Actually we work together with a number of clients and cosnultants and all of them agree that E-Learning helps to reduce the classroom training by the factor 5. So a 10 day Green Belt course (as an example) becomes a 2-day hands-on workshop. Much more effective this way because the trainers know the students that have gone through the E-Learning all enter at the same level.
    I do not believe in BB E-LEarning, actually all our partners recommend to do the same theoretical E-Learning like the GB (the same course) and it then depends how you perform in the practical project work (normally 2 projects) to achieve BB-status.
    I have tested a number of Six Sigma E-Learning courses and there are only very few that really give you an excellent ROI + the fun to learn. When I see some of the 80 hours courseware that are offered at high prices, I really have huge doubts about their effectiveness.
    So, if the company comes up for you, I hope they did some thorough testing on what’s good, if it’s for your personally, I think only the GB online course is sufficient.
     

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    #107342

    EdG
    Participant

    Out of curiosity, what e-Learning sources did you feel “give you an excellent ROI?”
    As a military member, the Navy has an Internet Based e-Learning website that contains a number of subjects that I can take advantage of.  The modules on Lean Manufacturing (4) were terrible, however their Six Sigma (9) modules appear good for refresher training (I’ve done 3 of the Lean ones and 6 of the Six Sigma modules).  The Supply Chain Management modules may be weak, but then I have only done 1 of 5 so I have to wait and see if they get better.
    I am curious what other sources you thought were “good”.
    EdG
    PS:  The others that posted “e-Learning only works well for self-motivated people” were right-on-the-money in my opinion.  But, that is just my opinion.

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    #107373

    Nobody Expert
    Participant

    Thank you Carsten for the enlightenment.Actually I’m doing that  out of personal interest ,to improve my credit as a free-lance  consultant I have been enrolled with Villanova University.Do you suggest to stop at the GB or what?Basically I’m a chemical engineer wity long experience in quality and change management .  kind regards.

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    #107398

    Carsten
    Participant

    difficult to say, so far I have checked the more famous ones (BMG, MoreSteam etc.) and wasn’t too excited by what I saw, also a bit long if you ask me.
    I have more experience with Six Sigma E-Learning courses customized specific to a companies needs. It ended up that 3 generic course exist, one for the manufacturing sector and 2 (yellow & green) for the banking & finance sector. They are very good in their instructional design and are probably the most popular in this part of the world, however I am located in Singapore, so for all you America-based folks I am not so sure if they are of interest (even though a number of US-companies use them as well). I also can’t promote them here since I am slightly involved in them, but you can find them with some searching on the net.

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    #107399

    Carsten
    Participant

    Hi Nobody, it’s surely a good thing to go through the GB. I would only ask this Villanova University exactly what is the additional benefit of going through the BB and also how the projects are presented and assessed. In addition I thought that the topics covered in the BB course are actually the parts that a GB should contain. At least this is how it is practised here in Asia. GB explains all the tools and the complete DMAIC + further info on DFSS etc.
    Is it allowed here to ask how much these courses are and how long (in terms of actual learning hours, not the activated access time)?
    Anyway, the Villanova courses will definitely provide a very good understanding of the Six Sigma tools and concepts and are surely much more cost-effective than a public classroom course.
    So, I won’t stop you from doing both courses, only would recommend to check thoroughly if both courses really give you a good return.
     
    Have a great quality day!
     

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