Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Online Lean Six Sigma Training

Responses to frequently asked questions (FAQ) about our enhanced online lean Six Sigma training are provided below.

Our Integrated Enterprise Excellence (IEE) Lean Six Sigma training follows the content and roadmap in six of our books; i.e., students receive more than a deck of slides as a take-away from our training (which can be referenced long after the workshop).

  • Integrated Enterprise Excellence Volume II: Business Deployment
  • Integrated Enterprise Excellence Volume III: Improvement Project Execution
  • Lean Six Sigma Project Execution Guide
  • Minitab and Lean Six Sigma: A Guide to Improve Business Performance Metrics
  • Management 2.0: Discovery of Integrated Enterprise Excellence (written as a novel)
  • Leadership System 2.0:  Implementing Integrated Enterprise Excellence (written as a novel)

FAQ online lean Six Sigma training

1. What is the difference between the online and the onsite Lean Six Sigma Black Belt training?

The biggest difference is the vehicle used to transfer information (instructor or PC), of course. To the student, the advantage of an instructor led training (ILT) is that the student can ask questions as each topic is introduced. For the Blended online training (BOT), the advantage is that you can re-learn any topic if you realize that you did not really understand the methodology when later topics are introduced. ILT training includes experiential activities with other people that you can discuss and process the information, while the BOT involves experiential simulations that can be repeated until the concepts are understood.. Both systems (at least with Smarter Solutions, Inc [SSI]), involve one-on-one interaction with a Master Black Belt (MBB) instructor to talk through topics and your project after the basic lesson is taught.

2. Does the word “Blended” refer to blending the Integrated Enterprise Excellence (IEE) system and Lean Six Sigma?

“Blended” implies that there is more than one training/learning method for the Lean Six Sigma training. In Smarter Solutions training this includes; videos, interactive web activities, reading, homework, and remote coaching sessions.   For some providers, the blended format involves a replacement of a portion of the classroom time with online training.

3. Since the training is self-paced, I assume that I have finished the course as soon as I complete the 140 hours of modules for Black Belt training, the exam and a project. Is that assumption correct?

Self-paced means self-paced. We allow 12 months (BB & GB) to finish the electronic material. We expect you to learn and then apply the concepts to your project.  The critical path, with respect to time, is usually the project.  Projects are typically undertaken concurrent to the training although a few students have proceeded through the material faster than their project progressed and they seemed to do fine. It is assume they went back and reviewed the material as needed when executing their project.

4. What is the difference between a Black Belt and a Green Belt level of training?

The difference between a black and a green belt level of lean six sigma training varies by provider.  At Smarter Solutions, the Green Belt training will provide a student the ability to lead DMAIC* improvement projects within their current organization.  A Black Belt trained student will have the ability to lead improvement projects throughout an organization since this course includes more “Soft Skills” in leadership and change management.  The Black Belt course also includes a significantly more assessment and analysis tools that support improvements in areas that they are not experts in.

* DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) is the improvement sequence used in Lean Six Sigma.

5. What is the market value of the Black Belt right now? I know a lot of companies have in house Black Belts and a lot of consultants have Black Belts. In other words, once I get the Black Belt certification, will that open doors for me to get additional consulting work? This is a cost/benefit question for an independent consultant.

Of course this question is difficult to answer.   The general answer is that if you are generating enough business today, the SSI BB certification, with its increased skill set, may only provide the opportunity to charge a higher rate because of your added skill set.  To new clients, the BB will provide recognition of your skills by an independent source, which will make you more valuable. We have had many independent consultants go through these courses, they generally say that the BB provides credibility and enhancements to the skills that they already were able to provide, but to organizations that did not know them it can help them obtain contracts when competitors were not equally certified. We have provided the Master Black Belt course to a Consultant from Washington DC, a past BB student, who attended because of the benefit of the BB skill set made to her business.

6. I have compared Smarter Solutions’ blended online belt courses to other providers. Why would I want to take your course when it is more expensive than the others?

Some people ask how we can stay in business with one of the highest prices, which is a great question. It is because our clients and students know that the courses are worth the listed price. The high price covers a few beneficial items; An integrated text book that is provided with the course (most do not provide any material for the student to retain), use of a mature Learning Management System from instead of an ad hoc or simple delivery system, Inclusion of homework and course coaching with experienced MBBs that are available(while many offer it the support with a junior staff that is overwhelmed and takes a long time to respond), and the lessons are well written interactive HTML pages with integrated simulations, interactive pages, links to other resources, and interactive software training (when other providers use primarily voice-over PowerPoint recordings or recorded live lectures which are less expensive to create but their value is worth less to the student).

7. Can I later reference the course material after I complete the training?

The electronic course material can be referenced for one year after initiating the training.  There is really no reason to reference the training material after taking the course. The provided set of books is referenced throughout the training, which builds familiarity to the textbooks during the training.  The books are what would be available for reviewing concepts and application methodologies long after the training is completed.  This is one of the major benefits of the SSI offering for this training relative to other providers.

8. I already have some of the textbooks provided with the training; i.e. IEE Vol. 1, IEE Vol. 2, IEE Volume 3, Lean Six Sigma Project Execution Guide and IEE System. Can I get a small discount off the base price?

Of course, we are able to reduce the price if fewer books are provided.  There are also other potential discounts; you just need to ask us.

9. Why do the BB & GB courses require a project to be completed as part of certification when other programs do not require one?

Since there is no single certifying organization to set the rules, every provider is on their own to set the requirements. Without a requirement to perform a true DMAIC improvement project, many employers will not fully accept the certification. There are a few high profile Lean Six Sigma programs that are able to reduce their prices and obtain great student comments because they chose not to ask for a project. One program requires only a written report on a case study. A few programs provide a software simulation to improve. Ask yourself which certification requirement would ensure that the Lean Six Sigma skills could be applied on the job!

10. Why do the BB & GB courses require a project to be completed for certification, why not just use the final exam?

Most Lean Six Sigma exams are a series of multiple-choice questions. They are written so that they can be taken by any student without the assistance of specific software. There are many aspects of Lean Six Sigma that cannot be tested with a multiple choice test, such as leadership, decision making in a team environment, and balancing business needs with business constraints. Exams only evaluate your knowledge, not the ability to apply the knowledge which many think is more important.

11. Why is Minitab required for the BB & GB courses when I can find other online programs that are able to be taken with only Excel?

All quality Lean Six Sigma programs require the student to perform statistical analysis to evaluate potential causes for significance and to evaluate the significance of an improved process over the original process performance. The inclusion of a true statistical analysis software, such as Minitab, allows the course time to be spent on when to use the statistics and how to interpret the results; limiting the time spent showing the student how the statistical tools work. A student with Minitab will be able to provide an analysis equal to a degreed statistician, which is not true with Excel. Yes, it costs more money to buy the software, but many students claim that learning to use of Minitab was their most significant benefit from our courses. We estimate that a majority of all Lean Six Sigma providers use Minitab and that all of the top providers are teaching with Minitab.

12. Do I need to take a separate Certification exam, such as the ASQ exam to gain full recognition as a certified Lean Six Sigma practitioner?

No; if your course provides a certification, you can claim to be certified. There are some of our clients that request their Lean Six Sigma belts to pass the ASQ certification exams after completing their course certifications. This decision is made for a few reasons; the company is a parter with ASQ, the company deals with overseas clients that recognize the ASQ name, and the student has a vested interest in ASQ. Students that have completed our courses through certification that go on to take the ASQ exam always do well, but we do suggest that they study up on how ASQ writes exam questions so they are not confused during the exam.

13. What is the difference between the Smarter Solutions’ blended online and the online only courses?

The blended online Black Belt and blended online Green Belt courses use a blending of personalized coaching with a mix of online and text book learning.

The online Yellow Belt and Design for Six Sigma courses are not offered with an integrated coaching version so they are only considered as online courses.

Online Lean Six Sigma Training Courses Available

Blended Online Green Belt

Blended Online Black Belt


Contact Us to set up a time to discuss with Forrest Breyfogle how your organization might gain much from an Integrated Enterprise Excellence (IEE) Business Process Management System and its enhanced lean Six Sigma training offerings.