Training material!!

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  • This topic has 12 replies, 10 voices, and was last updated 16 years ago by mie.
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    Why OH why do “in House” trainers continue to use powerpoint presentations as “Material handouts” for those persons recieving training.  They are a crap method for future reference especially where 6 sigma methods are being reviewed.
    Its about time good, thorough training material was given out to GB’s and so and not just naff overhead slides!


    John T.

    Hi Trigger,
    You bring up an interesting point about training materials. I’m in the corporate world and have seen everything from bad powerpoint to good powerpoint, to online tutuors, etc. What do you consider to be a good training material? How can the training materials be made to be a more robust reference material once training is done? I’d be interested to continue this thread for the benefit of everyone performing training!


    Ken K.

    For statistics training we use Minitab Inc.’s trainers. They provide excellent classes, VERY skilled and experienced teachers, the training materials are very nice (not powerpoint) and the courses are 100% hands on. You can read about their training capabilities at
    As an example, this link takes you to a page with Jim Colton’s picture. He is one of our favorite instructors. He is a very good teacher, has lots of experience in quality and reliability (important for us), and is just an overall nice, very likable guy.
    I couldn’t recommend them more.
    By the way, I don’t work for Minitab, I’m just a very satisfied customer.



    Ken, I agree about Minitab, but Six Sigma is only 10% stats if taught right.What about the rest?


    Terry Beller

    Hi Ken,
    I agree with Stan, in that “what else” really drives home the point of this thread. Let me ask you this:
    What makes Minitab’s training materials so good? Why are they a good reference? What format are they? Is referencability the key? Are examples that lead the user through the program the key? What makes them so good?
    Thanks for your thoughts,


    Ken K.

    I agree that statistics is just part of the BB “package”. That is why I specified “For statistics”.
    For other topics we use a combination of sources – internal courses, external courses (such as Minitab Inc’s, or Ford’s 8D problem solving), and, lately, CD-ROM-based training. We also do some (not much) self-learning activities.
    We are lucky enough to have an excellent supply of talent for teaching internal courses.
    The Minitab Inc. material is good from both perspective – very good realistic examples and a good format.
    The training material for each class is given to the student in a spiral bound paper format which flips over to minimize the “footprint”. The booklets are created to be used in lanscape positon, rather than portrait (flipped on its side). The pages tend to have text on one side and an example of output, graphics, or other information on the other side. 
    The booklets have well-labeled tabs on the bottom (the long side opposite the spiral) that helps send the student directly to the topic of interest (great for post-class reference).
    The first page of every section tab lists the Objectives for that section. The second page lists the examples and exercises and the purpose for each one (along with the respective page number). Each example or excercise has accompanying introductory information, including definitions, comments, suggestions, and specific step-by-step guides on how to generate specific graphs or analyses for that topic.
    The format is particularly good for post-class reference.
    During the class the student follows along with the booklet. Usually NONE of the reference material is projected onto a wall. Instead the instructor uses a combination of handwritten notes (we use a flip chart, but I suppose a whiteboard would do) AND a live projected MINITAB desktop display. We project the MINITAB display onto a white board so the instructor can write all over the current display – it is really quite effective and lively.
    I should mention that the booklets also come with a diskette containing the data used in the examples. While it is useful to enter the data once or twice during the class, using the disk allows better use of time.
    Another think I should mention is how the classes are laid out. They tend use the examples to build on capabilities. Its kind of hard to explain. You will first learn how to do A, then you’ll learn how to do B and in the example to A & B. Then you’ll learn C and do ABC, and so on. It is really effectie. By the end, you become VERY good at doing the essentials – ABCD…
    The examples look like they come from real life, but are likely doctored to protect their source. Lately Minitab Inc. has recently begun offering courses in Service Quality (statistics) that tend to focus more on analysis of attribute data. The examples focus on non-engineering/manufacturing issues.



    Great point, Trigger.  The slide show just gives you screen shots and bullets (no pun intended with the name Trigger), and it makes it rather difficult to gain any value as a reference.
    One other scary thing about this, particularly for the in-house trainers: you get a lot of variability in the training with different instructors, particularly if they differ from the author of the material. 
    One thing that might help a tad bit: use the Notes Page within Powerpoint to provide further information to support the slide.  This adds more substance to the handouts, and might make the handouts more valuable as a reference.
    In addition to this, they may want to align the slides with some worthwhile professional text, and issue this text for the training.



    Thanx Chaps for the help.
    We’re busy putting together a GB program for January Launch.  Everything we had done in the past was just a handout of the slides we were putting up on the OHP.  Real crap but its the same as what we were given when we were the learners!
    Its time for a fundemental change.  Some clear direction from what we want the green belts to learn.   Today we scrapped the “norm.”   We are now discussing our “Aim” and actually writing down our objectives for learners to learn.   But……….
    How do we decide what level of knowledge we pass on to the GB’s? When is Too in depth actually TOO in DEPTH? Our program is only 4 days and has traditionally followed GETS.  This has now evolved to DMAIC.  What are the key elements these learners take away time and time again?  ( I truly dont know!)


    Ken K.

    The training you run really depends on what you want the Green Belts to do.
    I tend to think that a VERY fundamental set of tools can take people a long way, but 4 days is pretty short.
    Hmmm, let me think. I suppose you’ll need to focus on simpler techniques. First take a look at Roger Hoerl’s article in Journal of Quality Technology – it might give you some ideas:
    >Emphasize data collection and making decisions based on fact rather than assumptions.
    >Describing processes, identifying important inputs & outputs. Simple process mapping.
    >Graphical representations of distributions – histograms, box plots, dot plots, scatterplots. Good graphical analyses can go a very long ways.
    >Basic statistics – normal distributions (may not be time to cover percentiles & z calculations), means, standard deviations, maybe focus on using confidence intervals of means & standard deviations to compare groups rather than relying on tests (t, ANOVA, etc…I like Roger’s ideas here), correlation (not so much the coefficient as the idea – also discusss cause & effect). I’m not sure if there is time to cover tests of proportions too, but they are important for many situations. Make sure you provide good statistical software and use it in the training. Don’t make your people do all this by hand or with straight Excel if possible.
    >Gage R&R –  if your measurement systems are junk and you don’t know it, you’ll waste a lot of effort (I speak from experience here). – stick with the very basic methods – maybe even skip the reproducability part and focus more on repeatability.
    >Capability indices are useful, but with only 4 days to cover stuff I’d tend to teach people how to relate histograms to process specs rather than focus on indices.
    >Factorial designs – they are handy – maybe just cover very simple designs and analysis methods. By this point you’ll be running out of time though. Maybe give the GB’s an overview of how DOE is used, and let your BB’s do the DOE’s themselves.
    Are we out of time yet? These are just ideas. Talk to your current BB’s and see what they recommend. Most BB’s aren’t shy to give opinions.



    We’re putting together a training program for new quality associates in our company similar to what you have discribed.  The training we have found in the past has been too expensive with little results.  We needed something more easily understandable, less expensive & more standardized for what we are doing.  We are currently using a lot of PowerPoint presentations with the notes slides.  If the notes have solid information in them, anyone can present the information the way it was intended.  Each associate then has a complete training manual with their own notes added for future reference.  We are also planning on follow-up training for older associates.  I am looking for a good Green Belt training program though.  Any thoughts?  Thank you.



    One point I didn’t see addressed in the responses is the designing training materials that can serve as reference after the class. I’d be careful about trying to design materials that server two different purposes at the same time: training and reference. In trying to have one document do both, we wound up with a training document almost a 900 pages for an 8-day training! Why? Because EVERY tool, EVERY best practice, EVERY contingency, etc had only one place to be documented; in the training materials. In retrospect, it would have made more effective to have created a reference manual with all the tools and information in it and training materials with the appropriate subset. Also, the organization of two would be different, reflecting the different uses. For the training materials, it would be the sequence that is optimal for learning (which is not always the sequence in which something is applied: such as we don’t start a drivers education course by covering how to start the car). The reference materials, however, need to be organized in ways that serve folks looking up specifics (with a clear taxonomy, indices, list of definitions, footnotes, cross-references, etc).



    I agree with Ken.
    Most consultants prepare material that act as reference for Six Sigma Body of Knowledge. However the same might not be suitable for instruction. The slides for example, need to have very well thought out, clear concise information that gives the students exactly what they need to assimilate.
    I have seen slides that are so busy….and have so much of informatiion in them that retaining the attention and interest of the students become challenging.
    So what I (and my colleagues) do is either hide slides that have more reference value than instructional value, or give separate handout to the students.
    That has worked well so far.



    hi all,
    when talk about training material, just curious…is there any existing training material/books on Lean-Sigma?….meaning a combination of Lean mfg and Six Sigma. Is it possible to merge this two set of tools under one training material?

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