Teaching Lean Construction Perspectives on Theory and Practice

Cynthia C.Y. Tsao1, Marcelo Azambuja2, Farook R. Hamzeh3, Cindy Menches4 & Zofia K. Rybkowski5

1Owner, Navilean, Brookline, MA, 02445, USA, Phone +1 510/593-4884, [email protected]
2Assistant Professor, Dept. of Construction, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL, 62026, USA, Phone +1 618/650-3845, [email protected]
3Assistant Professor, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 406E Bechtel, American University of Beirut, Riad El Solh-Beirut 1107 2020, Lebanon, [email protected]
4Assistant Professor, Dept. of Civil, Arch. and Env. Eng., Illinois Inst. of Tech., Chicago, IL, 60616-3793, USA, Phone +1 312/567-3630, [email protected]
5Assistant Professor, Dept. of Construction Science, College of Architecture, Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX, USA, Phone +1 (979) 845-4354, [email protected]


This paper builds on the IGLC paper, “Different Perspectives on Teaching Lean Construction,” presented last year by Tsao et al. that documented teaching approaches from three different Lean Construction (LC) university course offerings. It aggregated the approaches taken by the course offerings, the Lean Construction Institute (LCI), and the Associated General Contractors of America to develop recommendations for learning modules, outcomes, and strategies for an introductory LC university course. This paper provides four additional distinct perspectives to continue the conversation about teaching LC in a university setting. It illustrates the authors’ differences in teaching approaches, experiences, and lessons learned from course offerings in the United States and Lebanon. The paper offers additional ideas for providing “proof of concept” to students and further illustrates how teaching LC effectively requires a combination of readings, lectures, discussions, simulation exercises, field trips, and guest speakers to mix theory with action. The paper then aggregates seven teaching perspectives in a single table to provide an overview of different approaches for teaching an introductory university-level course on LC.


University Teaching, Syllabus Design, Instruction Structure, Action Learning, Lessons Learned, Proof of Concept



Tsao, C. C. , Azambuja, M. , Hamzeh, F. R. , Menches, C. & Rybkowski, Z. K. 2013. Teaching Lean Construction Perspectives on Theory and Practice, 21th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , 977-986. doi.org/

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