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Virtual summer camp teaches students the basics of Lean management

July 14, 2020

alan goodman

Alan Goodman helps run a summer camp that teaches kids how to become problem‐solvers and critical thinkers. When the coronavirus pandemic forced him to take this year's camp online, he needed to employ those same skills himself.

For two weeks in June, Goodman ran a free virtual summer camp for students in middle school and high school, highlighting cyber security, electronic technology and quality engineering.

"The purpose is to expose kids to different types of careers," said Goodman, a department chair and instructor at the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC). "Right now most students are geared toward getting a four‐year degree, but we want to highlight some of the other options they have available. For example, learning about cyber security could lead to a career in software."

One of the biggest challenges in planning this year's camp experience was finding ways to engage students while not being in the classroom with him. He researched companies that specialize in distance learning technology, ultimately leading him to discover MoreSteam.

As a leading global provider in Lean Six Sigma eLearning, MoreSteam offered resources that helped Goodman enhance the quality engineering portion of his camps.

"While I was searching for tools that I could implement, I came across MoreSteam and ultimately reached out to Kathy Miller," Goodman said, referring to MoreSteam's Vice President of Business Development. "She was gracious enough to let us use some of their sims for free. They generously donated everything to us, showing their support for both the students and MATC."

Goodman used several practice exercises from MoreSteam's Yellow Belt course, covering topics such as:

  • Inputs & Outputs — Students selected which components of a hotel check‐in process are inputs to determine the average length of check‐in
  • Eight Forms of Waste — Students categorized common office problems with the forms of waste it represents
  • 5‐S — Students were timed organizing tools needed for a pit crew. After the tools were sorted and then set in order, their set‐up times decreased.

Despite the challenges associated with distance learning, Goodman said he thought this year's camp was a huge success, thanks in part to the blended learning model he utilized.

"Students learn in different ways," he said. "Some will learn from what you tell them, others from what you show them, but it really sticks whenever you allow them to do it themselves."

While Goodman hopes next year's camp can return to its traditional in‐person format, he now knows a virtual camp can be just as effective.

"I asked the kids what they thought, because this is the first time we've used any sims like this," he said. "I got specific comments saying things like, 'Yes, this really helped me.' They loved having the opportunity to work through things on their own, and learn something in the process."

Learn more about the training and software provided by MoreSteam.