Multimedia Learning in the Lean Workplace

Multimedia Learning

“Liberating education consists in acts of cognition, not transferals of information.” 
― Paulo Freire

It’s Monday morning. The kids are eating breakfast and watching cartoons. A parent says, “You’ll miss the bus,” and the children reluctantly turn off the TV. It’s a typical scene for many families. When the children get home, the television is waiting there to distract them from their homework. Television, movies, and video games have all been vilified for this reason: they distract us from more wholesome and fulfilling pursuits. It’s no wonder that educators have been reluctant to adopt this technology, and yet this reluctance exacerbates the problem. This problem persists into adulthood. Employees and managers find training programs boring, but they don’t have to be. Instead of being frustrated by the allure of images, motion, and sound, modern educators must now use these techniques to achieve their own goals. If you are losing your audience’s attention, it’s time to adapt and do things differently.

Boy watching television with noise

Modern educators define three different learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Unfortunately, classroom training programs often fail to keep up with modern theory. The “lecture and reading” model persists. Not only does this approach leave out certain learning styles, it’s not very good at engaging learners of any style. The old classroom model is merely passive explanation. It goes in one ear and out the other. Visual learners need to actually see things and map out their knowledge. Auditory learners need to actually hear things and learn to speak for themselves. Kinesthetic learners need to get hands on with the process instead of merely understanding it in theory. It’s no wonder that so many people fall asleep in classrooms.


For Lean trainers, managers, and even professional consultants, video can offer a more engaging alternative to lectures. While there is no substitute for actually observing and participating in successful Lean programs, that is not always possible, especially in the early stages of Lean implementation. Effective multimedia learning can provide a more immersive and engaging stepping-stone to active participation in Kaizen (continuous improvement). Let’s look at the benefits for each learning style:

Visual Learning

For the visual learner, many benefits of video learning are obvious. Video allows content to be delivered in images. Seeing something, rather than just having it explained, allows a visual learner to absorb more information more quickly. In turn, this keeps them emotionally connected and engaged with the content. They can remember what they see and take it with them to the workplace.

Auditory Learning

Auditory learners might seem to be the most compatible with the old-fashioned classroom lectures, but they too can benefit from video. These learners are highly perceptive of vocal cues. Video provides the ability to hear multiple voices and perspectives at their best, rather than a single instructor. Well-produced videos also have crystal clear voiceover and engaging music that can be helpful for auditory learners.

Kinesthetic Learning

Kinesthetic learners are the “hands-on” type. These are the people who learn best by doing. It might be hard to see how video can benefit these learners, but it still has some advantages over the traditional classroom model. Long gone are the days when you had to wheel out a full sized TV and VCR to show people a video. Mobile devices and online video services allow kinesthetic learners to bring the knowledge with them to the place of work, and follow along with lessons in real time. You can’t always give someone a personal instructor, but a portable video lesson might be the next best thing.


Like with all training techniques, Lean video courses shouldn’t stand alone. While the benefits of video are clear, it works best as a supplement to hands-on training programs and workshops. Video can also help consultants and managers spread knowledge of Lean methodologies to large numbers of people before starting more focused and customized training programs. This will build support for the Lean program, reduce confusion, and keep the conversation going at all levels of the organization.