Client Case Study

The Lean University

Discover how Project4 Learning Lab developed and delivered a Principles of Lean Engineering MSc module for the University of the West of England (UWE) School of Engineering.

Discover how Project4 Learning Lab developed and delivered a Principles of Lean Engineering MSc module for the University of the West of England (UWE) School of Engineering.

The University of the West of England (UWE) approached Project4 Learning Lab to design, develop and deliver a 5-day Lean in Engineering Module as part of the Master’s degree course. The intent was to give students the ability to link Lean thinking and Engineering and to see how, in their roles as Engineers, they can influence change for the better at all levels.

With Project4 Learning Lab's experience in Lean Transformation and strong Engineering background, we worked in partnership with UWE to design a practical approach to Lean learning using our 4-step instructional design model.

The resulting Lean module has been running successfully for a number of years, receiving some of the highest scores ever in delegate feedback.

The level of engagement in Lean ways of working in the faculty has increased and the workload in some bottleneck areas e.g. the Laboratories, has been rebalanced to enable a better flow of work.

Proposed Programme

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Lean 101

An immersive and interactive training solution, that teaches and allows delegates to experience and practice lean principles, systems and tools.

Our 4 Step Process

Instructional Design


The clarification of the current challenge or opportunity that the learning solution is intended to address, culminating in the definition of learning goals and objectives.

Defining goals

Through discussion with the UWE team and direct observation of every day activities inside the faculty, we were able to establish two defining goals that the learning solution would need to satisfy:

To demonstrate to students the link between Lean and Engineering, helping students to see how Lean principles can be applied within Engineering.

To create an environment where students experience a Lean Engineering faculty to allow them to see and feel examples of Lean best practice throughout their time at the University.

Design & Develop

The design of the learning solution including lesson planning and media selection, and the creation of content to deliver the defined objectives.

Creating a Valuable and Concrete Experience

We designed and developed an immersive and experiential 5-day Lean Engineering programme.

At its core, the intent was to help delegates to identify and remove waste through good process design, and develop the ability to identify and implement process improvements.

In doing so, delegates are introduced to the Lean Principles, the Systems that have been developed over the years to embody those Principles and, finally, the Tools that are used within the systems to improve the performance of a process.

The programme was designed to provide a concrete experience for delegates so that they can feel the effect of structured process improvements and was purposely developed to be delivered intensively as a one-week block to encourage total immersion.


The implementation of the learning solution and the standardisation of the delivery method and materials.

Embedding Lean

Project4 Learning Lab delivered the programme in the first instance. It is delivered in cohorts containing between 10-16 delegates, made up of diverse students from across the UK and Europe.

During the programme students are trained in the principles of Lean and Lean thinking, coupled with practical activities.

After completing the module delegates are set a 15,000-word thesis on Lean in Engineering, which they have around 3 weeks to submit.

The implementation of a Lean operating environment inside the School of Engineering building. 

Demonstrating Lean

To improve the students' day to day Lean experience within the school, Project4 in partnership with the University set out a road map of Lean System and Tool introduction within the state of the art newly constructed Engineering Facility.

Tools such as Tiered Visual Performance Management and 5S would now be seen each day and become embedded in the way of working over time. This elevated Lean beyond just a subject taught at the University, to a shared experience while on campus and a clear part of the DNA of the School of Engineering at UWE.

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The Lean module and Lean ways of working have been running successfully in the faculty for a number of years. See how the Students and Staff think it has been working for them.

Voice of the Student

"It was the best lecture I ever had – thumbs up!"

"Excellent structure and content, even better delivery."

"Very interesting and insightful – would recommend highly."

Voice of the Staff (See Video Below)


Through our engagement, we were able to significantly enhance the educational experience for students at UWE.

Revolutionising Engineering Education and Implementation:

We demonstrated not just a successful merger of theoretical understanding with practical application, but also showcased Lean principles at work in a real educational setting, shaping a new generation of engineers equipped for practical challenges.

Exceptional Student Engagement:

The module has been running successfully for a number of years, consistently receiving some of the highest delegate feedback scores, delivering a substantial increase in student engagement and satisfaction.

It was the best lecture I ever had – thumbs up!

Masters Student, The University of the West of England (UWE)