Teaching Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) in a Supply Chain Context: A Paper Football In-Class Activity

This is an article based on the work of one of my students. She developed an in-class teaching activity for her Masters project, and this report both describes the activity as well as reports on an evaluation of its efficacy.


We develop a single-class period learning game for the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) improvement cycle. The experiential activity walks teams through the PDSA problem- solving process as they create paper American footballs and improve their performance using each step of the cycle. The game is one of the first to focus on PDSA. Key benefits include increased student attention, engagement, and learning. Empirical tests show that participant pre- and post-test scores regarding their understanding of each phase of PDSA improved 21.2% after completing the game. Additionally, the treatment group performed 16.6% higher than the control group. In participant perception questions, 85% of participants felt the game was more effective than lecture or reading, 93% felt the game was fun, 95% felt the game improved their understanding of PDSA, and 98% felt the game was engaging.

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Brau, R. I., Gardner, J. W., Webb, G. S., & McDonald, J. K. (2019). Teaching plan-do-study-act (PDSA) in a supply chain context: A paper football in-class activity. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education17(1). https://doi.org/10.1111/dsji.12171