To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Lean Six Sigma and Assurance of Learning (AoL) in higher education: a case study

Iman Adeinat (Department of Business Administration, Faculty of Economics and Administration, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Naseem Al Rahahleh (Department of Finance, Faculty of Economics and Administration, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Tameem Al Bassam (Department of Marketing, Faculty of Economics and Administration, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management

ISSN: 0265-671X

Article publication date: 4 May 2021

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to present a case study using a Lean Six Sigma (LSS) process to manage the Assurance of Learning (AoL) process in higher education. The case study highlights the value that LSS can bring to the higher education context in respect to making the AoL process more efficient and more effective. The article also illustrates lessons learned in relation to adopting LSS in higher education institutes (HEIs).

Design/methodology/approach

The case study presented is part of a larger undertaking implemented by the Faculty of Economics and Administration (FEA) at King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia to improve its curricula for all its programs as the graduate and undergraduate level in line with the 2013 Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business standards. The FEA project team implemented the AoL process using an LSS methodology – define–measure–analyze–improve–control (DMAIC).

Findings

The experience of the FEA as described in the case study suggests that the DMAIC framework can be very useful in managing the AoL process. Three aspects of LSS used in the AoL context are identified as critical in ensuring that the process achieves its stated institutional goals. Firstly, it is necessary to clearly identify which team members have which areas of responsibility in relation to, for example, sponsoring, implementing, managing and monitoring the project. Secondly, the common language provided by LSS is essential to fostering collaboration among members of a cross-disciplinary team. Lastly, quantifiable priorities should be identified.

Research limitations/implications

The experience of the FEA as described in the case study suggests that the DMAIC framework can be very effective in advancing and managing the AoL process. For example, writing the project charter, mapping the process using the suppliers, inputs, process, outputs, customers model and using various LSS tools and techniques to measure and control the assessment were critical to improving the AoL process.

Practical implications

This paper provides a guide to the range of practices cited in the literature on implementing LSS in relation to AoL as a comprehensive means of assessing, evaluating and improving curriculum design and delivery. The importance of this process to accreditation is explored and recommendations are offered focused on realizing both short- and long-term benefits through the initial assessments and subsequent iterations.

Originality/value

The defining contribution of this paper to the literature is its consideration of LSS implementation in the HEI context through the development and management of the AoL process.

Keywords

Citation

Adeinat, I., Al Rahahleh, N. and Al Bassam, T. (2021), "Lean Six Sigma and Assurance of Learning (AoL) in higher education: a case study", International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJQRM-01-2021-0017

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited