ERIC Number: ED398397
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Dec-11
The Challenge of Educating for Quality and Productivity in the Technical Workplace.
With the continuing shift toward more decentralized, team-based work structures, efforts to improve quality are often linked to efforts to improve productivity. This ongoing restructuring of the workplace has important implications for technical education. Educators need to have an understanding of how and why organizations are pursuing these changes. A widely prevalent assumption in the literature is that both goals--quality and productivity--can be achieved by the same management strategy. In reality, although the changes initiated by process-oriented quality programs can reduce the amount of scrapped or reworked products and boost measures of productivity, such changes can also involve revisions in work processes that increase costs and lower measures of productivity. Evidence shows that employees can--on the whole--make more accurate decisions about issues of quality (and efficiency) than their managers, but there is no guarantee. The wave of the future is clearly a continuing decentralization of authority and more teamwork. An instructional model for technical education that provides training in the specific skills needed in today's team-based workplaces is cooperative learning. The challenge for technical educators is to gain an understanding of the basic ideas and techniques involved in cooperative learning. They need to consult with others who have used group techniques, develop applications appropriate for their own classrooms, take the plunge, and stay the course. (Contains 14 references.) (YLB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the American Vocational Association Convention (Dallas, TX, December 11, 1994).