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Leaning online education during COVID-19 pandemic – attitudes and perceptions of non-traditional adult learners


The purpose of this paper is two-fold: to describe how Lean methodology can be used, during the COVID-19 pandemic, to enhance the learning experience for non-traditional adult learners (NALs) and to explore attitudes and perceptions of students toward the integration of Lean methodology in online classes.


Qualitative semi-structured interviews were used to collect data for the study. NALs were invited to participate in 60–75 min semi-structured interviews. These interviews allowed researchers to gain an in-depth understanding of a participant’s experience. A six-step thematic analysis framework was used to conduct the data analysis.


This paper presents a Lean model that can be implemented in an online medium of instruction. The core concepts of Lean methodology: jidoka, just-in-time, customer-centered approach, team involvement and standardization and how these can be used in online learning have been described in-depth. In total, 40 students participated in the semi-structured interviews. Four themes emerged from the data analysis: work-life balance; lack of standardization; learning online classes and connection to the workplace.

Practical implications

These findings could help academic institutions, instructors and course designers as they work on implementing new teaching and learning strategies for NALs.


There is extremely limited evidence on the usage of Lean methods for NALs in a public health crisis. As academic institutions move to the online medium of instruction to contain public health problems, this project can provide important practical tips to instructors.

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Jitendra Singh , Barbara Matthees , AnaLisa Odetunde
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