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Sustaining Sweden’s competitive position: lean lifelong learning
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
Luleå tekniska universitet.
Karlstads universitet.
Norrbottens läns landsting.
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2015 (English)In: Measuring Business Excellence, ISSN 1368-3047, E-ISSN 1758-8057, Vol. 19, no 1, 92-102 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore what options the adult learner has for continued learning and what role universities are playing in providing net-based education. Current options for lifelong learning and improvement opportunities in the educational process are described based on an assessment inspired by principles of lean management.

Design/methodology/approach – Sweden is chosen as an example. The current level of net-based university education and the demand for it is assessed using official Swedish data. Lean management principles are used as a starting point to define parameters for interest for the adult learner. These parameters are then converted into a five-level scale for assessing current performance with focus on university courses. The authors also study how Swedish County Councils manage their employee education and carry out a check of courses offered by massive open online course providers.

Findings – Lean management principles in combination with customer focus seem to present relevant parameters for assessing distance education. Preliminary results indicate that lean lifelong learning has a considerable improvement potential. The main reasons for this potential seem to be more of a bureaucratic and political nature, whereas technology and resources appear to be less of an issue.

Practical implications – The results have implications for both universities and organisations. The pressure on universities to become more customer-focussed, while at the same time, cost-effectiveness is likely to increase.

Originality/value – Using the customer perspective for educational services and applying lean principles to education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 19, no 1, 92-102 p.
Keyword [en]
Lifelong learning, Organisational learning, Competence development
National Category
Engineering and Technology Economics and Business
Research subject
Engineering Science with specialization in industrial engineering and management
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-267289DOI: 10.1108/MBE-11-2014-0045OAI: diva2:872626
Available from: 2015-11-19 Created: 2015-11-19 Last updated: 2016-03-30Bibliographically approved

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