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Training is a key to the success of a change initiative. It is obvious. You have to pay a lot of attention.


Whether it is to understand the reason for change, improve staff autonomy or train for change tools, training is key in deploying a Lean 6 Sigma approach. Every agent of change must pay attention and know the basic principles.

« I hear, I forget. I see, I remember. I do, I understand. » – Confucius

Theories of learning

Phases of learning

It is important to know that the more you learn, the more you are aware that you do not know. Only the ignorant is not aware that he is. Learning is a time-consuming and step-by-step process. Kolb model 1 describes this cyclical learning process :

Learning mode

Perception of the teacher by the learner

Type of learning


1 – Concrete experience


(I do not know that I do not know)


The teacher is a coach / a help


Learn by intuition

  • From his experiences and examples in which he can possibly get involved.
  • His judgments are based on his emotions.
  • More focused on peers than on authority.

We are driving a car and we are still a bit young.

We drive a little too fast and we just do not get off the road.

This is a concrete experience.

2 – Reflective observation

(I know I do not know)


The teacher is a guide / a master


Learn by perception

  • From his observations and reflections.
  • Are introverted individuals.


The following times, we will rethink what happened: “I was hot, I almost went there “…

It is the reflective observation of concrete experience.

3 – Abstract conceptualization

(I know that I know)


The teacher is an information communicator


Apprend en pensant

  • By creating concepts and integrating their observations.
  • Is more oriented towards things and symbols and less towards people.
  • Learns better in a situation that relies on authority.


We draw the conclusions by saying that the next shot I will pay more attention and I will drive slower.

This is the theoretical conceptualization.

4 – Active experimentation

(I do not know anymore that I know)

The teacher is a model to imitate

Learn by doing

  • Check his assumptions
  • Use new knowledge for problem solving
  • Are extroverted individuals

A few days later, we take this same turn with less speed and it comes back in my behavior

It’s active experimentation.

Types of apprentices

Everyone does not have the same way of learning. With regard to the 4 phases of learning, each of us has its  preferences. Kolb identifies 4 behaviors in learning :

    • The divergent : he prefers concrete experiences and likes to think about his experiences. It is oriented towards people, the arts, the human sciences. He is creative and imaginative, allowing him to analyze the facts from different perspectives. He likes to know why.
    • The assimilator : he prefers to think about an experiment in an abstract and theoretical way. He attaches importance to abstract concepts, to things. He is a good observer. He likes logic, exact sciences and technology.
    • The Convergent : He likes to think about an experience and to experiment with the idea / action. He has a practical mind. He is able to concretely apply theoretical notions to check their effectiveness. Generally, he prefers to work alone, technical courses, the field of science. 
    • The Maker : He prefers concrete experiences and likes to apply the idea / action. It adapts easily to new experiences. He tends to solve problems by relying on his intuition. He is action oriented and likes to carry out complex projects with the collaboration of several people. He is able to make quick decisions and likes to take risks.


The theory of Andragogy, the science of adult learning

Malcolm Sheperd Knowles is an apprenticeship specialist. He developed the theory of learning of Andragogy. The term Andragogy consists of the term “ andros “, adult man, and “ agogos “, guide. Andragogy is therefore the science and practice of adult education. Term that is the opposite of pedagogy, science of education for the child.

This researcher found 5 major differences between the child apprentice and the adult apprentice :

  • He is autonomous and knows what he wants and what he wants to be.
  • He has accumulated knowledge and experience.
  • It will rather orient itself to develop in its social role.
  • It will move towards formations which it will be able to use in the immediate future.
  • His motivation to learn is most often internal.

Knowles deduces four good practices for the teacher:

  • They need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of the training.
  • Experience (good or bad) should be the basis of learning.
  • They will be interested in concrete subjects that they will be able to implement immediately in the personal or professional life.
  • Learning needs to focus on concrete examples rather than theory.


The learning curve

Also known as Experience Effects or Wright’s Law, the learning curve is an empirical principle formulating the fact that the more we practice, the more we can do better and faster. This law was first observed in 1936 at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The leaders then observed that each doubling of production was accompanied by a reduction of 10 to 15% of the required working time.

The reasons for this improvement are multiple :

  • Work Efficiency : It is obvious that the more we practice, the better we perform in what we do because tasks become “automatic”.
  • Calibration, specialization, and method improvements : Parts, equipment and processes are also becoming more efficient as a result of successive improvements. This means investing in new equipment …
  • Scale Effects : This is because vendors and distributors are also moving towards the end of the curve and their cost / time is also decreasing.
  • Shared Experience Effects : Experience curve effects are enhanced when two or more products share a common activity or resource. Improvements learned on one product can then be applied to the other.

    To calculate this curve, Wright defines the following formula :


With :

  • Yn : the cost or time of the nth part.
  • Y : the cost or time of the first part.
  • Xn : the nth part
  • K : le coefficient d’apprentissage. Celui étant compris entre 0 et 1. Au plus celui-ci est petit, au plus nous apprenons et au plus notre Xth part will be inexpensive. To stay in Wright’s rule, we use a coefficient between 0.80 and 0.90. To identify it more securely, we will build on our previous projects.


For example, below you find a learning curve. It has a K coefficient of 0.85, the cost of the first piece being 100 and we produce 1000 pieces. Without learning, we would have a total cost of 100,000, and with learning, we get a little over 25,700.

Note that this curve is very useful for contract negotiation. We will calculate the overall cost of the contract taking into account the learning effect, ensuring profitability.

It can also be used to justify the costs of a training by demonstrating the gains generated by the increase of expertise.

Design a training

It is understood that a good training must satisfy all types of students. For this, we build it following the rules below :

  • Provide concrete examples that people can do on their own.
  • Rely on clear and recognized theories.
  • Have group and solo exercises.
  • Rely on examples of the people themselves : typically, we can ask one or more people to share their experiences.

Choose how to deliver a training


On Job training


Type of content


Business expertise





Number of people to train




Job training that does not require going on the Gemba.

New technology, new process

Training reminder, “ group ” training, regulatory training


The slides are constructed visually and playfully, in accordance with the rules of the Visual Management.

Mandatory to train experts

Interesting to develop individual training and push staff to be proactive in their training course.


Design a training plan

Designing a training plan is a strategic project for the deployment of Lean 6 Sigma within the company. We will use the approach that allowed us to define the Lean projects to deploy :

  1. Develop the project strategy :  identify the lack of expertise, existing training and the overall objectives of the training plan. Derive training priorities.
  2. Deduct training priorities 
  3. Build Learning Path: required level, exam 
  4. Design trainings :  delivery method (room, e-learning …), contents, durations, required, exam and materials needed for each training 
  5. Develop the training calendar 
  6. Deliver training 
  7. Validate acquired skills: QCM, gemba validation
  8. Evaluate the system

Polycompetence Matrix

Also called ILU graphic, it allows a simple way to know where we are in our training plan. This matrix is built with :

  • Online or in column, the title of the expertise
  • Online or in column, the names of people

Ensuite, at the crossing, we perform the following notation : 

  • White cell: can not perform the task
  • I : Understands what it is but not or can not use it 
  • C : Good knowledge, know how to use 
  • E : Expert, knows how to use and transmit


1 – D. A. Kolb (1984) – Experiential Learning

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