I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand.

Benjamin Franklin… Benjamin Franklin? Or was it Confucius? He supposedly said:

Tell me and I forget, show me and I [might] remember, involve me and I understand.

Or was it actually Xun Zi (also written as ‘Hsün Tzu’, but not to be confused with Sun Tzu of “The Art of War” fame), the confucian philosopher who said:

“Not hearing is not as good as hearing, hearing is not as good as seeing, seeing is not as good as mentally knowing, mentally knowing is not as good as acting; true learning continues up to the point that action comes forth”

Wether you’d like to rely on the Wikiquote rendition of the saying or not, modern behavioral science shows us that there is actually quite a big measurable difference between learning by hearing and learning by doing.
That fits well with the recommendation that can be found in ‘The Toyota Way’:

“Start with action in the technical systems; follow quickly with cultural change […] Learn by doing first and training second.”

Quoted from the first two ‘general tips’ for organizations on a transition towards lean (emphasis added)

And perhaps this also is the reason why simulations (or games if you’re not too heavy on political correctness) are such an important part of ‘Agile’ and lean trainings.
The only thing I am still missing in most of these simulations (except for the getkanban game) is the usage of the real techniques. That is one of the reasons Tom Breur and I created the Lean and Agile hands-on training with a strong focus on all the management methods, applied in some well known simulations.

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