E-Learning or Experience?

I’m going to admit. I love a bargain or two. If there’s something I can do or purchase, at a discounted price, then why not?

Hence why I signed up to some of these discounted sites, such as Groupon, Wowcher, etc… You know the ones… you get a regular email, letting you know you could save 50% on a day out driving Lamborghini’s and Ferrari’s.. or you could save 80% on getting your hair styled by a professional, well known stylist in the heart of London.

The latter i’ll probably give a miss, the Lamborghini however… now that is tempting. But then, this caught my eye…

Really? – you could become a Six Sigma Black Belt for £39?! – even better, it’s all on-line training.

Now – just to start off, I think on-line, e-learning is great – depending on what you’re learning.

It’s low cost, very effective and easily scaled up. I even learnt some of my coding via an Udemy course… which was all on-line.

My issue with this is  – the type of course it is. Indeed, Lean and Six Sigma can be taught in a classroom (hey… I was taught in a classroom)… and with the powers of technology, it seems that we are moving away from the classroom to on-line. Which is fine for some courses but not for this.

I’ll explain why…

Firstly, we play a lot of games in the classroom. There are a number of simulations. There is a Black Belt stood in front of you to whom you can ask numerous questions. The Black Belt has experience of doing, what you’re learning, in the real world… and could share some examples, what went wrong, hints and tips, and some reasons why you should do something in a particular way and not another.

Secondly, to be a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt… you need experience. To do a course, sit the exam and call yourself a Black Belt, in my opinion… doesn’t work – that’s just one part. You need to face real-life challenges, show that you can use the tools in real-life situations… that bring real change and real results.

Finally, the tools are one part of being a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. There’s the whole part of Change Management, Project Management, and various other areas that are not part of the tool set. But part of being a Black Belt.

Here’s the highlights in the original email…

And then the details…

In fact… 6 is not the number!  The number is what your process needs it to be. There’s a reason why it’s called Six Sigma… but many processes don’t reach that, can’t reach it… or in fact…. go beyond that number!

Yes, yes… I know, it’s marketing talk… it’s to entice people and it’s a play on words. I get it… I do.

But it comes down to experience. If you really want to learn about Six Sigma and Lean, i’d suggest you find someone in that field and learn from them.

If that’s not a viable option, then indeed, you can attend some training and on-line courses but start from the basics… learn the very basics of lean… why did lean start?… how did lean start?… who started the thinking behind Six Sigma?… What industry were they in?….

Similar to Karate…. you start off on White Belt, progress onto Yellow belt… a few belts later you’ll be on Green Belt… then a few more years (in fact, quite a few years)… when your Sensei thinks you are ready, you progress to Black Belt.

I see Lean Six Sigma the same way. It’s not about how quickly you can get to Black Belt. It’s about the experience, the knowledge and most importantly, the understanding of what to use… and when, that will help you, when you’re a Black Belt.