The Internet can be a great tool for finding additional information about a subject you’re interested in, but most of us know that not everything we read on obscure web sites is true. For example, I have been searching for Lean training courses today and some of the online class options seemed questionable at best.
One option that did intrigue me was MIT’s OpenCourseWare, a great web site that allows anybody to explore the topics and information that students at the university have actually learned in past classes. Using MIT’s site is a great way to get a more holistic look at problems you may face every day in the aerospace industry, and I suggest you give it a whirl.
OpenCourseWare has Lean training materials from completed MIT classes that are curated and vetted by expert lecturers and professors. But one of the greatest things about this site is that the scope of material goes way beyond aerospace, and you can readily explore almost any subject area that interests you. Another important thing is that these classes have the MIT stamp on them, so you know that they’re legitimate. Wikipedia is great for getting the gist of an issue, but OpenCourseWare is a way better free alternative for technical information.
Take a look at these undergraduate courses that pertain to engineering. If you look down the list, you’ll see “Introduction to Lean Six Sigma Methods,” which is an online syllabus of materials from a class first taught in 2008. Click through the link, and you will see a whole list of video lectures to get you learning about Lean. Pretty awesome, right?
Please keep in mind that while all of the classes are virtually free, the banner at the top of the web site allows you to donate to the OpenCourseWare project to keep this great service up and running. If you find that you are learning something from the site, consider giving a few dollars to the cause of open information—it will only allow for even more lectures and materials to appear on the site.
I had come across OpenCourseWare a few months ago when wanting to learn more about one of my hobbies: urban planning. I quickly learned that there are a few downsides to using OpenCourseWare as a primer for understanding something that you know nothing about—there’s not always enough supplemental material to fill in the blanks. As a novice to the technical aspects of architecture and construction engineering, I was drowning in the equations on the power point slides in one of the courses. Not all of the classes have background materials, and many of them start at a higher level.
Still, I found that it really is worth it to take a few minutes to browse, as you may find a great list of recommended reading or appendix of links to teach you more about the site.
I think that OpenCourseWare is a wonderful addition to any professional’s skillset and I hope to continue to use it in my own continuous studies. What do you think?