Different Perspectives on Teaching Lean Construction

Cynthia C.Y. Tsao1, Thais da C. L. Alves2 & Panagiotis (Takis) Mitropoulos3

1Research Affiliate, Lean Construction Institute, Brookline, MA, 02445, Phone +1 510/593-4884, dr.tsao@leanconstruction.org
2Assistant Professor, J.R. Filanc CEM Program, Dept. of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engrg., SDSU, San Diego, CA, 92182, Phone +1 619/594-8289, talves@mail.sdsu.edu
3Associate Professor, J.R. Filanc CEM Program, Dept. of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engrg., SDSU, San Diego, CA, 92182, Phone +1 619/594-0137, pmitropoulos@mail.sdsu.edu

Abstract

There has been limited documentation in the literature on the structure of Lean Construction (LC) teaching. This may be due to the existence of multiple theoretical interpretations of LC and how its concepts may be adapted and applied in different project life cycle phases by using various tools, systems, and processes. To contribute to the discussion on teaching LC, this paper describes three distinct perspectives based on the authors’ experiences teaching in universities in the U.S. and Brazil. Specifically, we discuss how our teaching approaches involve readings, lectures, discussions, simulation exercises, team projects and assignments, field trips, and guest speakers to mix theory with action. This paper seeks to (1) document experiences and lessons learned from multiple LC course offerings and (2) promote the exchange of ideas between those teaching LC. Leveraging our unique teaching approaches and lessons learned, we develop basic recommendations for teaching an introductory course on LC in universities. While this paper’s primary audience will be those who teach university students, we hope those who teach practitioners will also benefit from the proposed instruction structure, participate in the conversation on teaching LC, and offer new ideas for providing “proof of concept” to students.

Keywords

University Teaching, Syllabus Design, Instruction Structure, Lessons Learned

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Reference

Tsao, C.C. , Alves, T.D.C.L. & Mitropoulos, P.(. 2012, 'Different Perspectives on Teaching Lean Construction' In:, Tommelein, I.D. & Pasquire, C.L., 20th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. San Diego, USA, 18-20 Jul 2012.

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