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The Challenge

In the current crisis, traditional classroom-based learning has virtually stopped overnight, so the challenge for those who need to keep continuous improvement training going is to find an alternative online delivery method so they can maintain activity. If you do not have access to a learning management system, you will need to quickly identify a platform to use that can be implemented rapidly. Fortunately, there is now a large and established industry providing a range of online options, including sophisticated eLearning Platforms and Learning Management Systems (LMS), offering varying levels of sophistication and, of course, cost of set up.

Responding Quickly

However, developing a ‘professional’ bespoke online course takes time and resources, while the pressing need is to get something up and running fast, at least as a short term to a medium solution that will keep the training momentum going and deliver benefits to learners and organisations. The obvious solution is to use one of the existing web/video conferencing or communications platforms and make some quick adaptations to material originally designed for face to face delivery. It may not have the professional polish of the specialist bespoke offerings, but with a little work, it can be very acceptable and effective.

Article contents

This article provides information and advice that will enable you to set up an online course relatively quickly, largely using the material developed for a face to face environment. It covers:

Typical Features of web/conferencing platforms

Video communications and remote conferencing platforms - including Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Google Hangouts Meet, WebEx, Zoom etc - can deliver online workshops/tutorials, virtual classrooms or webinars and can provide an interactive and media-rich learning experience. Typical features include:

Key Points to Consider

“The most important principle for designing lively eLearning is to see eLearning design not as information design but as designing an experience.” Cathy Moore

Online Course Planning

Adapting Material

“Think about what your learners need to do with that information after the course is finished and design around that.” Matthew Guyan
It will be necessary to adapt your existing material, such as presentation slides, to make it online friendly if you want to avoid developing sophisticated bespoke online training materials.

Adapting Delivery

According to a Microsoft study, the average person’s attention span is eight seconds, so bear this in mind!
"Where my reason, imagination and interest were not engaged, I would not, or I could not learn". Winston Churchill


If you need to assess participants at the end of your online course, there's a wide range of online options available, many of which are free or have limited free versions, which may be adequate in the short term. including SurveyMonkey and Google Forms. Some set up is required for an online test and the LCS has resources that can help (and even run tests if necessary). See the LCS web page on Creating tests

Managing Participants

What Platforms are Available?

There are many platforms that enable text, voice, or video chats, either one-on-one or in a group and many of us will be using these on a regular basis. They don't require complex installation and are relatively quick to set up, with no major investment, though there will usually be an annual subscription charge. Many of these provide ‘unified communications’ across an entire enterprise, while others just focus on web conferencing and communications. Which one you choose may depend on what IT ‘ecosystem’ you are already aligned to (eg Microsoft, Google, etc), or that which your customers use. It may be useful to have more than one to call on Below is a list of some of the main players.
Name Description Notes
Microsoft Teams. (Includes Skype for Business)
  • Teams is a chat-based collaboration tool
  • Features include Activity, Chat, Teams, Calls and Files. Chat is for direct messaging.
  • Teams are the primary interactive space for conversations and Calls is where you connect for video calls, audio calls, and screen sharing.
Only available to Office 365 Business users, though there is a free account with some limitations Review What is Microsoft Teams?
Skype for Business (formerly Lync)
  • An economical option
  • Scheduling, recording and participating in high-volume, collaborative video conferences.
  • Allows users to interact via text messaging, audio and video communication.
  • Meetings can be recorded
  • Sharing of Microsoft Office files
Users will eventually upgrade from Skype for Business to Teams. What is Skype for Business? Review
Google Hangouts
  • Google's longest-running messaging and video chat service.
  • From June 2020 only be offered to consumer accounts, ie anyone with an @gmail.com email address.
  • Enables text, voice, or video chats, either one-on-one or in a group.
Google Hangouts Meet
  • The upgraded version of the free Hangouts app; more suitable for businesses
  • Includes applications like webinars and video conferencing.
  • Can host video calls with up to 100 people
  • Includes screen sharing, recording options and the ability to dial into a video conference by phone.
  • Share a link to start your meetings,
  • No accounts, plugins, downloads

Google Hangouts Chat is the associated business messaging app in G Suite, with team messaging space, virtual rooms for each team project, threaded conversations, so your team can chat and track the progress of the discussion. It has deep integration with G Suite, so you can share content from Drive and Docs, or you can view things like photos and videos directly from the conversation. Review

Hangouts Meet is part of the G Suite package Review What is Hangouts Meet?
Cisco WebEx
  • Web conferencing and videoconferencing application.
  • up to 1,000 participants allowed in a virtual meeting room. Meetings can be joined via the WebEx desktop, web and mobile apps
  • Layouts that can be customised and allows for active participation in the meetings.
  • share screens in meetings to help colleagues all get on the same page.
  • integration with Google, Outlook, Office 365 and more.
  • Users can record conferences and share with those who were not present
Free plan available - host up to 50 participants, 1 GB of cloud storage, 40-minute cap on. What is Webex? Review Review
  • Cloud-based video conferencing service
  • Virtually meet with others - either by video or audio-only or both, all while conducting live chat
  • Can record sessions
  • One-on-one meetings: unlimited with the free plan and up to 100 participants.
  • Group video conferences: host up to 500 participants
  • Screen sharing:
  • Whiteboarding
Zoom Free: unlimited number of meetings, capped at 40 minutes What is Zoom? Review
GoToMeeting GoToWebinar GoToTraining
  • GoToMeeting is an online meeting, desktop sharing and video conferencing platform that enables the user to meet with others via the web in real time.
  • Virtual Whiteboard
  • Built-In Audio
  • Meeting Scheduler
  • Hand Over Control
  • One-Click Recording
  • Join via Mobile Options
  • Desktop/Application Sharing
  • Personal Meeting Room
  • GoToWebinar is online conference software that makes it possible for anyone to host a professional webinar from their office.
  • GoToTraining online training software enables individuals and enterprises to provide interactive training sessions to customers and employees in any location.
GoToMeeting starts at £12.00/month. GoToMeeting does not have a free version but does offer a free trial. Review What is GoToMeeting?
  • Video conferencing application for business users.
  • Can record video conferences, share files with other users, have a text-based chat, and much more.
  • App works across different devices, including laptops, smartphones and tablets.
Trial available What is Bluejeans? Review 1 Review 2
  • Easy-to-use web conferencing, online meeting, video conferencing, and webinar tool
  • Aimed at small business
  • Moret basic webinar service
  • Not as many features as other platforms
Free trial available Review 1 Review 2 What is AnyMeeting?
Cisco Jabber
  • Cisco Jabber provides instant messaging, voice, video, voice messaging, desktop sharing, and conferencing.
What is Cisco Jabber? Review 1

Learning Management Systems

For longer term solutions, where you require a more comprehensive and immersive offering, checkout the wide range of online learning platforms, referred to as learning management systems (LMS).
An LMS is an online learning platform providing an integrated set of interactive online services that provides the teachers, learners, parents and others involved in education with information, tools and resources to support and enhance educational delivery and management - http://www.timelesslearntech.com/
  1. Academy Of Mine
  2. Adobe Captivate Prime
  3. CourseCraft
  4. Docebo
  5. Educadium
  6. in2itive
  7. LearnWorlds
  8. Ruzuku
  9. SAP Litmos
  10. Skillshare
  11. Teachable
  12. Thinkific
  13. Udemy
  14. WizIQ


Best Web Conferencing Software from Trustradius.com The Best Video Conferencing Software for 2020 from PC Magazine 10 Top eLearning Resources That Help You Learn Anything Today from elearningindustry.com Rapid e-Learning development process and resources from talentlms.com The eLearning Guild’s Handbook of e-Learning Strategy The Ultimate eLearning Resources Guide (2020 Update) from learnupon.com 10 awesome elearning examples to inspire you in 2020 from elucidat.com What is an LMS?     [post_title] => A Short Guide to Quickly Setting Up an Online Course [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => a-short-guide-to-quickly-setting-up-an-online-course [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-06-10 11:49:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-06-10 10:49:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.leancompetency.org/?post_type=articles&p=12592 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => articles [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10850 [post_author] => 2151 [post_date] => 2019-06-08 08:21:58 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-06-08 07:21:58 [post_content] =>


For many people reading this, their experience of board-gaming will be limited to playing Monopoly or Cluedo; perhaps some might be chess players. However, over the last few years, particularly since the success of the game Settlers of Catan, there has been an explosion of ever more innovative board games aimed at adults, creating a strongly growing entertainment market. If your experience of table top gaming ended with luck based, mass market games, you might be surprised to find that the hobbyist side is teeming with complex and deep games where players are invited to “engine build”;  creating a process of taking actions that produce the greatest number of points for the least amount of investment. Often, this requires the player to not only improve steps within a system, but to design the end-to-end system itself. And many of the tools used in Lean can also be applied here.

Reducing Waste

In “deckbuilding” games such as Dominion and Artic Scavengers, players choose to add cards to a personal deck of cards, some of which are then drawn at the beginning of their turn and played to unlock actions and buy more cards. There will generally be a range of cards available to be added to your deck, cards will trade off between those that are worth points at the end of the game, and those that allow you to take powerful actions during the game. The challenge in the game is to create a deck that allows powerful actions, so that the player can then collect points. The challenge of the deckbuilder genre is to reduce inventory waste. As the player collects cards into her deck, the chance that any one card will be drawn decreases. The successful player will be one that is selective in adding cards to their deck and prevents powerful actions getting lost amongst all the others. A powerful deck will allow for the most efficient cards to cycle into the player’s hand as often as possible. As those cards that the player starts with, and those that award the most points generally have the weakest, or indeed no actions attached, their appearance in the player’s hand is similar to failure demand in a service environment. A wise player will not only aim to remove the weak starting cards as soon as possible to reduce the appearance of unwanted cards in their hand, but also delay the acquisition of point scoring cards, to prevent them reducing their opportunity to gain more at a later stage.

Improving Flow (Of Wine)

In Viticulture, participants run a vineyard in pre-industrial Tuscany, make wine which awards them points and income. An efficient player will optimise through-flow through their wine making “engine”, making sure the right grapes go into the press, in the right quantities and types to make wine, which meets the criteria of the contracts that they have been asked to fulfil. Further, a good player will attempt to keep a consistent flow. In order to win, players must always be in the process of growing, crushing and fermenting grapes; making the most efficient move at the most efficient time, players must reduce the non-value add movements and focus on delivering only moves that result in value (points) Once a contract is fulfilled the player takes another, and then changes her production to meet this contract, therefore matching production to customer demand, and pulling on the production only that which is necessary. This requires players to create a flexible process capable of adapting quickly to the demands of the customer.

Systems Thinking

The economic strategy genre of games covers some of the weightier parts of the hobbyist board game market. These games tend to ask the players to manage some form or aspect of a business. From fast food chains (Food Chain Magnate), to shipping companies (Panamax) there is even a game called Kanban. Whilst many of these games reward aspects of management such as cash flow management and profit maximisation, and others, such as Arkwright, replicate macro-economics, several others invite the players to build a co-dependent system of businesses. In Brass: Birmingham, players succeed by building primary industries that extract coal and iron that allow you to build secondary industry. This secondary industry then requires beer to begin production of manufactured goods. All of these resources will require the players to build a transport network across Birmingham and the Black Country to move to where they are needed. As players can use each other’s coal, iron, beer and transport network, players must consider themselves in the wider system of the game. A player may choose to not invest in raw materials, but to use other player’s, perhaps a player will focus on building a transport network that will prove useful to others. And so not only must players think about their own end to end system and the interplay of their own resources, but also their place in the wider ecosystem of the game, positioning themselves to be efficient within that.

Implications for Operational Excellence Coaching

There is a growing understanding that games play an important part in the learning of individuals, and that the better the game, the more efficient the learning can be. In a Guardian article, the issue of poor quality games is discussed, and John Coveyou tells of his drive to found Genius Games, an endeavour to create games that educate people in stem subjects Deming knew the power of using games to explain the principles of process improvement. In the red bead experiment, Deming would illustrate the frustrations and limitations of the traditional focus on individual performance and end of line quality. Here, he can take managers with decades of experience and force them to stand back, remove the complexity of the day-to-day of the modern corporation, and get them to see clearly the underlying themes and principles of traditional corporate practice. He is able to do this because humans use play to conceptualise and explore ideas. In our roll-out of operational excellence waves we play games, following on from the work of Baringa Consultants, with whom we have been working, we play co-operative games that invite our training delegates to work together to improve a process. Play is of undoubted value in a learning environment. Play allows training delegates to explore ideas and strategies in a risk-free environment and also impacts positively on the learning of these with a kinaesthetic learning style. Beyond that, it helps create a team atmosphere through common language and shared experience that is helpful at the beginning of an intervention of operational excellence. While some people struggle to think of lean outside the context of their workplace, for many, the ability to explore ideas in new or different settings help them develop concepts further and relate to their own work in different ways. The playing of games can help training delegates encountering Lean concepts for the first time to “see the woods for the trees”  on their own shop-floor. A well-designed game will also give immediate feedback that the player can intuit, that can be re-enforced by the trainer, allowing learning to happen on an instinctive and logical level at the same time. Board games offer an OE Coach a collection of game mechanisms on which to draw, to create activities that can help their trainees explore and test lean concepts before applying their learning in the work environment. [post_title] => Playing with Operational Excellence [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => playing-with-operational-excellence [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-06-08 08:26:37 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-06-08 07:26:37 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.leancompetency.org/?post_type=articles&p=10850 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => articles [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 8317 [post_author] => 1553 [post_date] => 2018-05-29 23:16:04 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-05-29 22:16:04 [post_content] =>

What are the Different Types of Learners?

Classroom with empty tables and chairs Visual, aural, verbal (reading/writing) and kinesthetic are the most common categories that people use to define learning styles. One theory called "VARK" (an acronym for the four types), claims that most individuals can fall into one of those four categories of learning. VARK was first put forward by Neil Fleming, a New Zealander, in 1987. In this article, we will also cover logical, social, solitary and naturalistic as they offer additional insight into the way that people learn.


Visual is the most common type of learning style. This type of learning includes a predisposition toward images, colors, graphs, pictures, maps, etc. In other words, they want something they can feast their eyes on.

Strengths of Visual Learners

Visual learners can also be very good with spatial thinking and recalling images or places in their minds. Visual learners excel at being detail-oriented because they notice very small changes in their surroundings. They also tend to do well with balance and alignment.

How to connect with a visual learner in the classroom

Typically, a classroom is already geared toward visual learners. PowerPoints, writing on a whiteboard, maps, graphs, posters, pictures and many other visual aids are typical in a learning environment. This makes sense since visual learners account for up to 65% of the population, according to Social Science Research Network. Visual learners need text or long speeches mixed with something they can see. If they are watching a presentation, a PowerPoint with graphs and images would greatly help them receive the information and remember it later. When it comes to listening or reading, visual learners do better if the speaker or text includes imagery that they can imagine. If they can visualize what a speaker is talking about, they can better retain that knowledge.

Auditory (Aural)

Young adults listening to a presentation while working on laptop computers Aural learners love music and sounds of all kinds, but especially interesting ones like rhymes, rhythms and the spoken word. Auditory learners retain knowledge best through hearing information rather than seeing it.

Strengths of Auditory Learners

Auditory learners are very good at repeating information back once they've heard it. They tend to be good at noticing people's inflection and tone or subtle changes in their language. Auditory learners are good at picking up language, verbal communication and retaining long lectures. They can also be fantastic storytellers.

How to connect with a auditory learner in the classroom

According to some studies, auditory learners make up for about 30% of learners. While this isn't as many students as visual, it still accounts for a large percentage of the population. In the classroom, auditory learners benefit from things like lectures, music and speeches. They would be the type of person who could learn from a podcast and put what they've learned into action. When giving class assignments, auditory learners will often do better hearing the assignment rather than seeing it on paper. They will also benefit from having an oral exam as opposed to a written one. Another strategy for auditory learners is to have them repeat back information to the teacher as often as possible as opposed to always writing information down. An auditory learner may not take as many notes as their visual peers.

Verbal (Reading, Writing)

Male adult reading a book in a library People who excel at the verbal part of learning differ from visual learners because they are not discouraged by long texts. Verbal learners love language, whether written or spoken.

Strengths of Verbal Learners

People who are verbal learners are very good at absorbing information through the written word. They can take in vast amounts of complex written words and condense it into more easily digestible information.

How to connect with a verbal learner in the classroom

It isn't as clear how many students fall into the verbal learner category. Previously, the VARK study only included three categories: Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic. They later included reading and writing as a separate category. Verbal learners do very well with a lecture and note-taking types of teaching and they also excel at writing assignments and written tests. A good strategy for verbal learners is to have them rewrite information into their own words. They do very well at research writing projects or writing projects in general. To help them with new concepts, it's a good idea to include a written handout for them to review. People in this category can also greatly benefit from the exuberant amount of information available on the internet. A verbal learner can easily pick up a lot of information quickly.

Kinesthetic (Physical)

A kinesthetic learner is a person who learns through physical action. They learn through making something. They prefer tactile learning and hands-on practical experience.

Strengths of a kinesthetic Learner

Kinesthetic learners are good at picking up skills through active participation. They tend to be coordinated and do well at activities like building, sports, art or drama. They also are adept at learning by watching someone else. They're likely to have great motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

How to connect with a kinesthetic learner in the classroom

Kinesthetic learners reportedly make up about only 5% of the population. Therefore, many classroom environments are not geared toward kinesthetic learning. A student who responds to this type of learning style can come across as antsy and inattentive in the classroom. They may struggle to sit during long lectures or engaging in too much written or verbal learning. Kinesthetic learners do best when they can physically get their hands on something or move in some way. Kinesthetic learners can be given some leeway to doodle or move a little so long as it is not disruptive to the class. It can be beneficial to have them be a helper in class with things like handing out assignments. Mix up your class structure by breaking up lectures and sitting periods with physical movement. For younger learners, you can incorporate letters and numbers with movements and songs to get them learning while moving. Another strategy is to use hands-on experiences to teach them something. Science is a great field for this because experiments and nature observation can be incorporated comfortably into the learning schedule.


Pencil set on a piece of graph paper with math equations People in the logical category are problem solvers. They see things in the realm of cause and effect. They like knowing that if A is true, B must follow. People with this learning style enjoy mathematical equations because math problems follow a logical flow. They also like patterns and logic problems.

Strengths of Logical Learners

Logical learners are excellent at seeing how things are interconnected. They can understand complex patterns, math problems, and excel at strategy games like chess. Logical learners tend to be attracted to science fields like chemistry, and they're often very comfortable with technology and computer science fields as well.

How to connect with a logical learner in the classroom

Logical learners like to understand the how and why something happened. They respond well to statistics and data and other hard facts. Science and math are preferable because they offer clear answers for how someone comes to a basic conclusion about something. In other words, these fields often offer definitive answers, or at least a course of action, to get to the answer. Logical learners do best when the classroom is very structured. They tend to struggle more with open-ended questions and assignments. To help them connect to subjects that may not fit comfortably into the logical sphere, try to incorporate things that they can connect with. For history and geography, including statistics and graphs can be helpful. Explain how countries interact with one another and the reasons there are conflicts. For fields like art, music and literature, try to find a more logical angle. For instance, logical learners might identify with the rules of poetry like the meter or rhyming patterns. They might be able to analyze the motivation of characters in books—if this character does this, this character will respond this way. It may not be within their natural comfort zone, but over time, it may connect to their logical style.

Social (Interpersonal)

While it should be noted that any one of the six other (not solitary) learning styles can also be applied to a social learner, people within the social or interpersonal category tend to learn much better in a group atmosphere. This type of learner thrives in group projects and shines in social settings.

Strengths of a social learner

People in this category have strong communication skills and can pick up on verbal and nonverbal communication from the people around them. They can pick up on the emotions of other individuals and groups. In other words, social learners tend to have a high emotional IQ and may be the first to notice when someone else's demeanor has changed. Social learners gravitate toward extracurricular activities and team sports and are energized by social interactions.

How to connect with a social learner in the classroom

People who are social learners do well when they can bounce their ideas off of other people. To connect to social learners it's a good idea to include class presentations, group discussion and group projects, as they will feel most comfortable in this type of setting. Social learners may struggle to sit quietly and absorb information during long lectures. To help with this, it may be helpful to break it up with small group discussions or ask them to repeat back information in their own words.

Solitary (Intrapersonal)

While the opposite of social, a solitary learner is similar in that it can include all the other learning styles, but people in this category learn better alone.

Strengths of a solitary learner

Solitary learners are often self-directed, quiet and independent. These people tend to be very good at identifying and understanding their own emotions and feelings. They value learning independently and quietly.

How to connect with a solitary learner in the classroom

Solitary learners benefit from time alone to work through problems and new ideas. They do well when they're given time they can spend being introspective and working through issues. Some strategies that work well for solitary learners is encouraging them to keep a journal, giving them projects that they can work on alone and allowing them to work independently when possible. They are likely to respond better to writing assignments and projects as opposed to public speaking or in group projects. If group projects are necessary, they would do well to be given a section of the project that they can contribute on their own time.


Three backpackers walking in the woods A naturalistic learner is similar to a kinesthetic learner in the sense that they like hands-on experience and do better with physical involvement as opposed to learning from a textbook. The key distinction between the two is that the naturalistic learner prefers to do their hands-on learning primarily outdoors.

Strengths of a naturalistic learner

Naturalistic learners are curious and investigative. They can take hands-on experience from nature to understand the world around them and draw conclusions about plants, animals and the environment. They tend to be very good observers and are naturally comfortable with animals.

How to connect with a naturalistic learner in the classroom (or out of it)

Naturalistic learners will do very well if they can have some time outside actually exploring nature. Gardening, nature walks, field trips and park trips are all ways to get naturalistic learners outside. Like kinesthetic learners, naturalistic learners may enjoy science as it lends itself well to outdoor exploration. How do you engage a naturalistic learner when they can't leave the classroom? Consider bringing nature indoors. Grow plants, have a class pet or create a tiny ecosystem. If you're studying the various forms of rocks, bring in samples that they can touch. Students who have a naturalistic learning style enjoy reporting back the information they've learned from the world. You can take this natural desire and apply it to other fields of study like writing. Have your nature-friendly student write reports about things that they are interested in like animals and the outdoors. They can also develop their reading skills by reading books related to nature.


All people approach learning in different ways and from different perspectives. Most people have a range of learning types that work for them but usually have a type of learning that stands out from the rest. Since not all people are the same, it's helpful for educators to practice multiple types of learning styles in their classroom to meet students where they're at and equip them for success. This article was originally published as a Cornerstone University blog. [post_title] => Understanding & Adapting to Different Learning Styles [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => understanding-adapting-to-different-learning-styles [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-05-31 05:51:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-05-31 04:51:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.leancompetency.org/?post_type=articles&p=8317 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => articles [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 8057 [post_author] => 1246 [post_date] => 2018-04-05 17:30:46 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-04-05 16:30:46 [post_content] => Is gamification right for your company? Are your sales reps excited to come to work each day? Or do they dread each call, pensively check their monitor clocks, mentally computing how much time there is left before they can leave the floor? According to the 2014 Global Workforce Study conducted by Towers Watson, four out of 10 employees are disengaged. Some of the reasons they are unmotivated are pay, industry, management and company culture. It is in every company’s interest to have motivated employees. In sales situations that can be high-pressure in nature, ensuring that sales reps are locked in and engaged is one of the sales manager’s most necessary tasks.

So, what motivates employees?

Recognition, remuneration, and a competitive sense are all excellent motivators. Gamification works well with workplaces. It banks on each of these motivators to keep employees locked in and focused. Gamification is the marriage of productivity and technology where game mechanics are used in a non-gaming context. Traditionally, games and work do not mix. However, engagement is such a big issue for many companies that managers and top-level management are willing to try anything to get their workforce performance in top speed. If businesses do not do anything with disengaged workers, the business will suffer. For many teams, gamification might be the key.

Why it works: The psychology behind gamification

Gabe Zichermann said in his book Gamification by Design, “gamification is 75% psychology and 25% technology.” What gamification does is it taps on the psychological cues that push our day-to-day decisions. A gamification tool is a platform for competition, achievements, and progress management. Gamification is fun–but it has one objective. As a manager or C-level executive, you are willing to try gamification to get the results you want: encourage productivity and engagement of your employees. The biggest hurdle to this is also one thing: Behavior is not an easy to change. To change behavior, there are three elements that must converge, according to Professor B.J. Fogg. The experimental psychologist at Stanford University says that motivation, ability and trigger are the three things that have to happen at the same time for behavior to change. Can gamification impact your employees’ behavior?

Why does sales gamification work?

Gamification only works when it motivates your employees to do something. While it can be successful in curbing bad habits and promoting better behavior, it’s important to have a basic understanding of where the motivation comes from. Done badly, gamification can have the opposite effect on your employees than intended. Scientific American lists three critical elements that sustain motivation. Knowing these basic elements will help you understand why gamification motivates your employees:


When your employees pursue an activity for its own sake and not because external forces compel them, they gain motivation. They feel in charge. If your employees are given the opportunity to select a course of action based on their own opinions, they will tend to stick to their goals for a longer period of time.


Your employees are more motivated when something of value to them is at stake. If they think it’s important, they’ll work harder on it. Staying true to their beliefs makes them more invested in their job.


As your employees invest more time into an activity, they will become more competent in it. Believing that effort fosters competence can inspire your employees to work harder on their goals.

How does gamification work?

Gamification increases employee engagement because it changes the way employees interact with their work and their colleagues. According to Scott Buchanan of Nice, it increases their commitment, motivates them through competition and inspires collaboration.


To handle complex issues, organizations need more skilled agents. Usually, this requires formal training sessions for your staff. This method takes people away from their work and cost the company valuable staff hours. One of the alternatives to this process is done with gamification. Your goal is simple – have a skilled agent. Instead of scheduling training sessions, create an arbitrary award for those that meet the requirements of a skilled agent. Have your employees work on becoming an “X skill Guru”, “Product X Master” or “X Badge” owner on their own free time. To achieve those, give them set of tasks they must complete to earn it, something that your employee can do after going through 20-hours training.


A lot of corporations have whiteboard or email contests on a monthly basis. Gamification provides an alternative to this, but rather than running a single contest, you can engage your employees in multiple “quests” or contests simultaneously. These quests can range from “The best customer feedback”, “The fastest response time” to anything related to your line of work. Have your employees compete for “Top scores” or the best rank. Mix all these contests together and have a “leaderboard” for personal, team, and company score. Make sure your employees can track their records on these leaderboards and encourage them to share their achievements. It’s motivating when recognition comes from achievements that are aligned with company goals.


Gamification can be a powerful tool in driving collaboration between your employees. The employee who was a top performer last week can be encouraged to publish their best practices for others to view. In doing so, they can even be rewarded with a special badge if they produce top-rated content. This allows employees to seek out one another. If a new hire is working toward a new badge and is confused by a single objective, gamification allows him to reach out to those who have already earned it and ask for their advice. By successfully implementing gamification, you will be giving its “players”: When all these are met, gamification can change employee behavior. Motivated and engaged employees are the natural result. Well, does it work in practice? Gamification is not an awfully new concept, companies have been using gamification not only in the workplace but to keep customers motivated to stay with their services.

Here are some numbers that can prove the point better:

According to the data science gurus over at Gartner, 40 % of the Global 1000 will use gamification as the primary mechanism in transforming business operations. That’s before 2016! Gamification is seen as a top and legitimate form of enlivening employees. With top corporations and organizations hopping on the gamification wave, it’s only logical to project that more smaller-sized and smaller-scale companies will follow suit. If the best is doing it, why won’t you? It’s not like gamification is not scalable. From small to huge teams, there are gamification tools and mechanics that can be applied. In a study conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center, some 1,021 technology stakeholders and critics were surveyed on gamification’s future. 53% said that gamification will play an important role in the workspace and will be widespread by 2020! The rest of them said that gamification will play an important role but won’t be as widespread. Gamification really holds a good place in management efforts. Engagement is one of the biggest and most pressing management issues across industries. Gartner said that 70% of business transformation efforts fail due to disengaged workers! There are tons of business solutions that aim to streamline work, marketers that help with filling the sales pipeline, research companies that help you evaluate your market–but when the effectors and implementers are disengaged, it’s hard to push any development. Companies need to co-opt techniques used by game developers to keep players interested. Using incentives is one way of achieving employee engagement in light of transforming business operations. And gamification pioneers are getting in on a market that’s about to blow up! In 2012, the market for gamification was at $242 million. It was sizable but not really significant to make ripples to other industries. But in an M2 Research-headed study, it was revealed that by 2016, gamification will be a $2.8 billion industry, with the primary market being enterprise-level workforce.

Well, how has it worked for companies who use it right now?

Stewart Agency, an insurance company, doubled their three-year productivity in just two months with gamification. Through this new approach, their agents managed to collect double the number of email addresses in their database. Here’s how they did it. The objective was simple: Collect more email addresses from leads. The management knew that this wasn’t a simple task. They need a motivated workforce to reach that objective. They needed a shift in behavior, to change the behavior that caused them to need more contacts! They incentivized the objective by starting a competition among their sales representatives based on the number of email addresses they can collect over a couple of months. The result: In two months, their existing email addresses were doubled. Those existing addresses were collected over three years! In 2013, Salesforce surveyed 100 Sales VPs who are using gamification to help with employee engagement. To say the results were staggering is an understatement.

Sales performance is increasing

90.4% report that sales performance is improving, where 71% report sales bumps of 11% up to 50%. Here’s a video of Cisco talking about how they used gamification to reduce their call centers’ call time by 15% and improve sales by almost 10%: Gamification is the future of workforce management. The little pockets of success are definitely an indication of better things to come for gamification. Do you think gamification can improve your team’s operations? Let us know your thoughts and comments! [post_title] => Gamification is the Future of the Workplace. Here’s Why [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => gamification-is-the-future-of-the-workplace-heres-why [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-12-11 10:44:58 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-12-11 10:44:58 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.leancompetency.org/?post_type=articles&p=8057 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => articles [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 6277 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2017-06-18 19:14:34 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-18 18:14:34 [post_content] =>


Learning is undergoing some big changes and several educational commentators are predicting that the future of learning will be dramatically different with factors like global connectivity, smart machines and new media reshaping how we think about work, what constitutes work and how we learn and develop the skills to work in the future. Fuelled by these trends, the importance of peer to peer learning is set to increase, a point highlighted in the 2017 Trends in Learning study by the Open University’s Institute of Educational Technology, which included learning from the crowd and learning through social media as two of six key trends in learning, both of which are integral to peer to peer learning. This article defines peer to peer learning, lists its advantages and discusses participation options, highlighting the LCS Forum's role in providing a digital space for the lean community.

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What is Peer to Peer Learning?

Peer to peer learning is a mutually beneficial activity which recognises everyone as a teacher and a learner. It facilitates continuous development by encouraging like-minded individuals to engage in knowledge exchange through collaboration, networking, discussion and information sharing, enabling them to enhance their industry knowledge beyond formal education.

Peer to Peer Learning & Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement, it can be argued, requires continuous learning, which can most effectively be achieved by blending three different ways of learning, as illustrated: Formal education and training, typically classroom based - though increasingly online or blended, has an important role in introducing core concepts and ideas, ensuring understanding and enabling group participative learning via simulations, games and case studies. Formal training should provide confidence for learners to apply their newly gained knowledge in the workplace, often with support initially. Learning by doing is a term often used to describe experiential learning, which is essentially learning through reflection on doing, which becomes the bedrock of ongoing competency development. The third element, peer to peer learning supports and complements formal learning and learning by doing. It is less structured and formal and can take place in many contexts. The growth of the use of the web and social media in particular means that virtual peer to peer learning is set to become increasingly important in the future. Indeed, some argue that a majority of learning takes the form of informal knowledge sharing in a peer-to-peer setting.

Advantages of Peer to Peer Learning in Business

Peer to peer learning is a flexible concept and can be applied to many different situations. Here are some of the key benefits for a lean oriented organisation:

How Can I Participate in Peer to Peer Learning?

There are many avenues in which you can take part in peer to peer learning. Here are some of the most common:

Social Networks

The nature of social media is inherently suited to peer-to-peer learning and social networking features like LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups and YouTube videos have made peer to peer learning more accessible by offering a virtual space for people to communicate and share knowledge.


Forums are another valuable online space in which peers can come together to discuss specific topics, ask questions and engage with relevant communities.  Your organisation may have its own internal social media platform and the LCS Forum provides digital space for knowledge exchange amongst peers on subjects relating to lean.

Networking Events

Networking events are a great non-virtual platform for individuals in similar fields to meet and share their experiences, challenges, solutions and best practice, in a face to face environment. This form of communication is highly effective in learning from peers.

Building Your Own Network

Bring peer to peer learning to you by hosting your own community. Build a network and invite peers to communicate on topics related to your industry.

How to set up a private community on LCS

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Learning by Doing

“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” ― Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics
Linking lean training to the application of knowledge in the workplace is critical if it is to be considered effective in generating an acceptable return on investment, engendering real business benefits and playing a positive role in the development of a continuous improvement culture. It is particularly important for those new to lean methods and continuous improvement in general, though should be a feature of lean oriented education at any level. PDCAMost lean practitioners realise that while training should provide a strong technical foundation and structure for competence development, more extensive learning and mastery of lean tools and techniques can only take place through ongoing application, utilising scientific thinking and the classic PDCA approach. Hence learning by doing, or experiential learning, is seen as central to lean competency development. This is a key reason why the LCS defines lean ‘competency’ as having bothknowing and practice elements.

Training Effectiveness

Kirkpatrick model

Kirkpatrick Model

This links with the broader topic of measuring training effectiveness and there have been numerous studies into this area that should be referenced when considering how to assess training’s impact. Several models and approaches have emerged, the most famous of which is probably the Kirkpatrick Model followed by Kaufman’s Five Levels of Evaluation. [see Kirkpatrick Model infographic].

Training Challenge

On a practical level, some CI managers report challenges in getting those trained to apply their new knowledge in the workplace, for example by undertaking post-course implementation projects and, not surprisingly, fear that the impact and effectiveness of the training will not be fully realised if this does not take place. A general assumption, of course, is that learners will be applying their new knowledge in a working environment that is supportive of continuous improvement; if it is not, then clearly there is a risk that improvement activity never gets very far off the ground in the first place.

The Eleven Factors

Below is a list of factors that can play a positive role in ensuring that implementation activity follows a training course or programme. These have been gathered from observation and feedback and it is by no means a definitive list, so it is likely that additions or refinements can made. Which are pertinent to an organisation will depend on a number of considerations, such as the organisation size, its geographical footprint, the level of formality of its overall CI approach and the particular model adopted, its level of lean maturity, how it resources its lean support function, in-house or consultancy delivered training and so on.

1. Course Integration & Design

design1A fundamental factor – and probably the most obvious – is to ensure that theory and practice are closely integrated when designing the course, which is likely to be the case if it is a subset of the organisation’s overall business improvement strategy. Expectations that the knowledge gained should be implemented relatively quickly should also be established early on and reflected in the course objectives, learning outcomes and delivery approach. There should be mechanisms in place to promote this, for example

2. Relevance & Linkage with Roles

roles3Training must appear relevant to learners and closely linked to their ‘day jobs’ and work priorities, with obvious opportunities apparent for implementation. Course material should include pertinent case studies and examples based on similar industries or from previous organisational improvements that learners can relate to. Having some training sessions actually on the ‘shop floor’ can be valuable, though this may not always be easy to organise. Training can be made more relevant and better received when delivered by a teacher or facilitator with authoritative practical experience, as well as subject matter expertise. Linkage with roles can also be enhanced if CI is part of job descriptions and relevance can be magnified if expected outputs are well aligned to business goals (see below). Similarly, if CI is included in the organisation’s appraisal or personal development review processes, then it will be higher up personal agendas.

3. Learner Responsibility & Project Selection

SelectionThe course selection or admissions process can impact the success to which knowledge is applied in the workplace, as in a recent research study by Ashridge Business School it was found that learner individual characteristics was the strongest predictor of the transfer of knowledge in the workplace (compared to programme design and work environment). Therefore, it is critical that participants possess the appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes to learn and transfer what is being taught – and this aspect can be emphasised in the course itself. The research also concluded that participants need to ensure they are clear about the benefits of the programme and should identify ways to apply learning to their roles, taking personal responsibility for applying that learning back in the workplace, as well as seeking feedback regarding new skills. As suggested in 1) above, care needs to be taken in identifying the project or activity that the learner will eventually undertake in the workplace, given the importance of personal responsibility in its success. Selection criteria can be established and a degree of rigour exercised in identifying projects so that the learner is committed and feels real ownership.

4. Support & Guidance

guidanceProviding guidance, coaching and support to learners when undertaking post course implementation activities is vital, especially for novices. Ideally, experienced practitioners should be available locally to assist in this task, which could be in the form of the local CI team, a lean support office, external consultants or simply experienced colleagues. There may be a particular challenge where practitioners are geographically dispersed and isolated, in which case more creative solutions may be required. Digital communication technologies have a role to play here, such as web based services, for example, Skype for Business, WebEx, Google Circles etc., as well as social media, blogs and discussion forums on intranets or public platforms. Web based library resources can also be a valuable asset. Also, undertaking improvement activity as a local group or part of a team can help mitigate the problems of geographical isolation. Support and guidance also includes capturing data on learners progress, as there will need to be monitoring and probably some chasing, as invariably a marshalling role is required. Finally, whatever support is offered, it should be easy to access and responsive when called upon.

5. Feedback & Review

feedback_icon2Linked to Support and Guidance, there should be opportunities for periodic review of work undertaken to deal with any issues that arise. This could take place within the context of a training programme using a teach-apply-review approach, or part of a scheduled reporting or feedback routine. These can take place through a combination of physical and web based meetings, if the IT infrastructure allows, while the web versions are invaluable for those in remote locations. These activities ensure regular communication takes place, create continuity, help maintain momentum, as well as keep up interest. Peer review is particularly effective in generative constructive criticism and also can create a sense of problem/solution ownership by the group.

6. Clear Methods & Instructions

methodLearners should be clear on what methods and techniques they will be using for their implementation activities and how they report and communicate the results of their activities. The training should have described precisely the organisation’s improvement model and approach (if present), the standard analysis and improvement tools to be employed, the problems solving methods used, the communication processes and so on. The organisation should also have its own standard analysis and reporting mechanisms, such as A3 templates, project charters, report formats and templates, easily assessed and available physically or digitally in a resources library.

7. Assessment of Practice

assessmentEnsuring that the training’s assessment strategy includes a practical element clearly signals its importance to learners and knowing that a failure to complete this part will result in not passing the assessment should act as a positive motivator to finish the task. Learners should be clear on the criteria to be used to assess projects and different elements can be weighed according the importance attributed to each. Where there is also a knowledge test as part to the assessment, the two parts can be weighted differently – for example, 60% in favour of a project and 40% in favour of a test. Again, this emphasises the relative importance of implementation.

8. Timing, Scale & Complexity

complexityHave a reasonably short a time gap between the end of the training programme and the expected delivery of an improvement project report will help it remain alive and salient. This suggests that projects should be appropriately scaled and do-able within the short time period, so should not be overly complex or involving a high number of stakeholders, departments or complex value streams. The length of this time gap will depend on the experience of those being trained, with a shorter period of around one month for newcomers and up to six months for others. For those new to improvement practice, initial implementation experiences are as much about building confidence and learning about how to use tools and techniques as they are about delivering business benefits, so a more relaxed view can be taken on aspects such as strategic impact and hard quantified returns.

9. Time to Improve & Line Manager Support

Support1If continuous improvement activity is not an explicit part of role or job descriptions (and it not often is), those responsible for managing the training need to ensure that the learners line management support the post course activities and sanction the appropriate time to undertake the work. Having the project linked to local priorities should help in this, as will pre-course stakeholder consultation. Of course, allowing employees time to be creative or innovative is not a new idea – for example, 3M’s famous “15 percent time,” programme, that allowed employees to use a portion of their paid time to pursue their own ideas, which is fêted to have led to the development of some the company’s great products.  Having the support of line management will depend significantly on the overall state of CI in the organisation as a whole. Line managers in organisations with established CI cultures and habits are clearly more likely to offer support compared to those where lean’s acceptance and practice is more varied in its different units or divisions, where middle management may not fully understand or champion lean principles.

10. Alignment & Relevance

Implementation activity and improvement Alignmentprojects need to be seen as pertinent, timely and fitting, relating to business unit or departmental purpose/goals and local KPI’s. This increases the chance that stakeholders take them seriously, as they can have an impact on key metrics and personal performance. Post course improvement projects should clearly state up front the benefits they aim to bring to the organisation, usually under the Quality-Cost-Delivery banner. While hard financial outputs are often demanded from an improvement project in the form of costs saved, a more balanced scorecard approach is preferable  – perhaps focusing on releasing capacity, new sales, customer value, environment, health and safety, morale and other soft factors that have a more indirect positive contribution. This non-cost reduction focus may be necessary for novices and will also help in reinforcing the message that real lean is not about cutting costs.

11. Reward & Recognition

reward2Reward and recognition has a role to play in incentivising learners to apply their knowledge and one of the LCS’s underlying premises is that the external acknowledgement of achievement can play a powerful role in motivating employees to engage in continuous improvement. Motivating learners is critical and recognising that you need to appeal to self-interest and address the “what’s in it for me?” question that is sub-consciously asked by many. Recognition for achievement will address the esteem needs of the Maslow motivation model – the need for appreciation and respect. Formal recognition for successfully completing projects (and other aspects of the assessment) can be achieved by certification and qualification awards, which can be trumpeted and heralded through award presentation ceremonies, internal PR stories showcasing success and prizes for best project or best team, etc. Celebrating success also helps build teams and the right corps d’esprit.

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Eleven Factors Linking Training with Application

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