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The lean prescription for non-traditional adult learners

Jitendra Singh (Minnesota State University Moorhead College of Science Health and the Environment, Moorhead, Minnesota, USA)

Quality Assurance in Education

ISSN: 0968-4883

Article publication date: 11 July 2019

Issue publication date: 11 July 2019




The purpose of this paper is to describe how lean management principles can be used in teaching and learning processes while preparing classes for non-traditional adult learners (NALs). Careful planning and the application of lean methods can result in NALs’ enhanced engagement and success at academic institutions.


The fundamental concepts of the lean philosophy, value, value streams, flow, pull and perfection were used to carefully examine the teaching and learning process at academic institutions. Efforts were made to identify non-value-added activities in the process and explore methods to enhance the learning experience for NALs.


This paper provides a comprehensive approach on how to plan a class using lean methodology. Identification and removal of non-value-added activities in teaching and learning processes can help to engage students in the classroom.

Practical implications

This research has practical implications for academic institutions. Incorporation of lean methodology may lead to identification and elimination of waste in teaching and learning processes. This may allow instructors to re-evaluate existing course delivery methods and offer equal or higher quality curricula while reducing cost at the same time.


Lean management principles have been successfully applied to a variety of administrative processes at academic institutions. However, there exists very limited research that show lean can be effectively used in designing curricula for NALs. This project can provide a framework for the application of lean while teaching and learning at academic institutions.



Singh, J. (2019), "The lean prescription for non-traditional adult learners", Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 347-359.



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