April 2020

Hit pause to learn more with the Toyota Kata Online course

A pause button


I’d like to share one powerful learning tip for the
Toyota Academy’s Toyota Kata Online Course, or any online course.

Use your pause button.

Use if often.

This will make space for you to be active and participate.

As I am writing this, with so many of us working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic, online learning is booming.




Many online learning courses are set up as if they are a linear learning path.

But you can get more out of most courses by circling back.



If you are new to the Toyota Kata duo, the Improvement Kata or pattern, and the Coaching Kata, this course by Jeff Liker and James Franz featuring Mike Rother walks us through the starter patterns over several cycles.

Pause the video, you open up learning.

Tips for the new-to-TK learner

  1. Pause the video every few minutes and repeat aloud what you just heard.
    Write notes.
  2. Download all the forms and print them.
    Pause the video and actually fill out the forms along with the learner / improver Jim.
    Complete the run chart, fill in the experimenting record (PDCA form) and make your own observations.
  3. Do all the quizzes of course, and get the most learning you can out of them.  Talk yourself through the asks and the answers in the multiple choice quizzes.
  4. When you have gone through all or any of the lesson(s) with Jim responding, you can be the improver/learner.
    How? Do the units again.
    When Coach Jeff asks a question, hit pause.
    Look at your completed forms to find the information, and then answer the question aloud.
    Play the video and compare your answer to Jim’s.

A real added value, in my opinion, is that you can go back and redo the course when you are ready to learn to coach.

Jeff Liker follows the Starter Kata on the question card exactly. This mean you can be Jim’s coach.

Tips for the new coach

  1. Use your pause button and stop the video right before Jeff asks the question, “What’s your Target Condition?”
    Refer to your 5 Question card.
    Ask the question yourself, and then really listen to the answer.
    Are you satisfied with the answer?
    To show how the basic starter pattern works, Jeff never asks a clarifying or narrowing question. Would you?  Note it.
  2. Do the same for each question in the Coaching Kata.
    Keep the card in your hand.
    Pause the lesson before Jeff asks, and ask Jim the questions.
  3. Get a buddy – one of you can be the learner, and one can be the coach.
    Pause, speak, listen. Pause and repeat.
    You can use the model in the video segment to practice the Starter kata with a good structured model.
    Take turns being the coach and improver.


Tips for the second coach

So you’ve been a learner and coach, are you ready to observe coaching cycles and ask the coach questions to help the coach develop?

You guessed the tip. Pause the video.
What do you observe?  Make notes.
What would you ask Coach Jeff?  What would you expect him to say?

An inexpensive online course like the Toyota Academy’s Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata course is an opportunity to learn, at your own computer.

If you hit pause and try these tips as a learner, new coach or even come back as a second coach, you might just be able to learn more, over and over, than you ever expected.


Yours in learning together,