For any organisation considering or already implementing Six Sigma; effective Six Sigma training is as fundamental to the success of the project as the concepts and methodologies themselves. In short, if the team does not understand the Six Sigma process – or cannot implement the tools of Six Sigma effectively – there is little hope for the success of the project.

Central to every Six Sigma project is the Six Sigma Black Belt tasked with executing the project and delivering the sought after improvements, so it’s not surprising that Six Sigma Black Belt training is top of the list of priorities for those organizations implementing six sigma. Moreover, a well-trained Black Belt brings with them the added benefit of being able to pass on their knowledge to other team members and to act as a technical reference for Six Sigma Green Belts.

So what kind of Six Sigma Black Belt training is available and what are the pros and cons?

Group and Classroom Style Six Sigma Training

Classroom style Six Sigma training courses combine intensive tuition and the benefits of interaction with other Six Sigma students. This ‘hands on’ approach suits many businesses keen to develop Black Belts within their organisations however for many the cost of classroom style training and the length of time involved (often several weeks or more), are preclusive.

Six Sigma Distance Learning for Black Belts

Distance learning offers a much more flexible alternative to classroom style Six Sigma training and is in most cases substantially less expensive. More to the point, classroom style courses may not be readily available to all organisations wishing to implement Six Sigma processes.

The drawbacks of distance learning on an individual basis include the length of time dedicated to the process – if it is rushed the quality of the training may suffer – and the lack of opportunities for teamwork which is central to the Six Sigma process and to Black Belts in particular.

In-House Six Sigma Training

Some larger organisations have gone to great lengths to develop their own in-house Six Sigma training processes while still others will hire in outside trainers to deliver Six Sigma training onsite. Clearly the principle drawback of these options is the cost involved.

Online Six Sigma Black Belt Training

More recently, online six sigma training – and particularly online six sigma black belt training – has become increasingly popular. Online Six Sigma training offers clear cost advantages over traditional classroom style training and advances in technology also allow for interactive elements to be incorporated. From an employee’s perspective, online training allows them to absorb information at their own pace and ultimately achieve Six Sigma certification.

When choosing a Six Sigma training program for Black Belts it is important to ensure the quality of the training both in terms of course curriculum – and the trainers or organisation delivering the course. This is particularly true of online six sigma black belt training programs.

The curriculum and body of knowledge for most quality online Six Sigma Black Belt training courses will be largely based on the DMAIC system.

• DEFINE – The ability to define the project, build a case for its execution and translate customer needs into specific requirements.
• MEASURE – Defining key metrics, data collection techniques, use and understanding of key data and the ability to calculate a process’ Sigma level.
• ANALYZE – The ability to interpret data, develop and then test hypotheses.
• IMPROVE – Everything from brainstorming solutions to process simulation and then selecting a solution to pilot and then implement correctly.
• CONTROL – Assessing the results of the process improvement, identifying and documenting process standards and documentation of the process itself.

Whether classroom style or online, six sigma black belt training is an intensive and critical process. Choosing the right training alternative, and training provider, can mean the difference between successful Six Sigma projects and failure.

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