One Point Lesson (OPL)

One Point Lesson / OPL - Toolshero

One point lesson (OPL): this article explains the one point lesson in a practical way. The article starts with the definition and meaning of this concept. An explanation then follows of how it works exactly and you will find practical tips to get started with the one point lesson yourself. You can also download a template to create your own OPL in this article. Enjoy reading!

What is an One Point Lesson (OPL)?

A one point lesson is a short visual work instruction in A4 format. An OPL helps convey the expectations of a process, solve problems, bridge a knowledge gap or improve a way of working in a process.

Because of its simplicity, a one-point lesson can quickly teach an action and transfer it from person to person. A complete process can consist of a few OPLs.

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Example One Point Lesson situations

Consider, for example, a production process, where an OPL can serve as a manual or instruction to use certain tools in that part of the process.

An OPL is frequently used to reinforce and clarify Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on the shopfloor. OPLs can often be found in situations where instructions about safety measures must be communicated, for example for wearing a safety harness or putting on a helmet.

Another well-known example of a one point lesson is the instruction to evacuate an aircraft that is making an emergency landing. This instruction can be found in the compartment of the seat in front of you on the plane. This OPL is also visually supported by the instructions of the cabin crew. Strictly speaking, this makes the instruction a two point lesson.

One Point Lesson: types of instructions

There are three types of instructions for which the OPL is suitable. These are: basic knowledge, safety, case studies on problems and improvements.

Basic knowledge

Instructions to support the basic knowledge of employees and others are most common when it comes to the OPL. These lessons contain essential knowledge for employees that is necessary to perform their work properly.

These types of instructions are specifically designed to bridge the knowledge gap that may exist between employee and, for example, reporting procedures. It is important that the employee can perform his or her work as well as possible.


Safety instructions are perhaps the most important type of OPLs. These types of lessons ensure that the employees remain safe while performing their jobs. Instructions can be aimed at different areas of safety, for example first aid, fire safety or the safe operation of devices and machines.

Case studies

Lessons based on case studies show employees how to deal with difficult customers, for example. It uses real world examples and ensures that employees are better prepared for potentially stressful situations. It is important that they remain calm in practice and are able to solve problems accurately and effectively.

Who designs instructions?

It is mainly operators or team leaders who write the average OPLs. They can also be security professionals who only deal with similar matters. They focus on communicating the core aspects within the process as effectively as possible, based on insights from safety studies and psychological aspects.

A one point lesson should be clear, easy to communicate and understand for everyone who comes into contact with it. The tool is sometimes designed by only one user, the operator or team leader, after which the lesson is transferred to the rest of the team. Teams are then encouraged to review the OPL and communicate potential improvements to the model.

Why is a one pont lesson important?

The one point lesson (OPL) is increasingly found within companies as an important part of their continuous improvement (LEAN) strategy. The step-by-step description of a task or instruction is supported by the use of images, recognizable symbols and simple texts.

The main reason for choosing this format of instruction is that it is easy to understand for almost anyone who sees it. It is important that the instruction is accessible to everyone while working. The instructions are often posted in visible places.

In short:

  • OPLs are valuable tools that help employees to understand safety instructions, quality procedures and maintenance instructions, or to operate equipment
  • OPLs promote a culture of continuous improvement
  • OPLs can improve safety, quality and productivity in the workplace

How does designing an OPL work?

When designing an OPL, the implementer should keep three important things in mind:

  1. The purpose of the instruction
  2. The content of the instruction
  3. The delivery method of the instruction

The goal should be clear and concise . It is also important that the goal is measurable. This actually means that there must be a clear difference between the positive or negative elaboration of the instruction.

The content of the instruction should be rich in information, but only crucial information that provides a complete picture. It is important that the message is clear and transparent to everyone. Therefore, consider eliminating unnecessary items if they do not contribute to achieving the measurable goal.

The delivery method must be attractive and accessible. That means: visually attractive and visible. This is important to get the attention of the people who need to see the instruction before starting work or performing a task.

Instructions for giving the instruction personally

It can also happen that a group or individuals are personally instructed, with or without the support of visual maps or pictures. In this case, pay attention to the following things:

  • Start by stating the purpose of the instruction
  • Keep it short and concise
  • Make sure the content is relevant
  • Use visual aids whenever possible
  • Ask for feedback and provide the opportunity to ask questions

One Point Lesson Word template

To write an One Point Lesson (OPL), you can use this ready-to-use Word template in a .DOC format.

Download the One Point Lesson Word template

This template is exclusively for our paying Toolshero members. Click here to see if a membership is something for you!

Join the Toolshero community

It’s Your Turn

What do you think? What are your experiences with SMART Goals and personal goals? Do you recognize the practical explanation or do you have more suggestions? What are your success factors for good Goal formulation and achievement?

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

More information

  1. Apriliani, F., & Aida, Z. (2021). Utilization Red Tag and One Point Lesson to Optimize Good Housekeeping. Jurnal Ipteks Terapan (Research Of Applied Science And Education), 15(4), 441-447
  2. Szwedzka, K., & Kaczmarek, J. (2017). One Point Lesson as a Tool for Work Standardization and Optimization-Case Study. In International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (pp. 21-31). Springer, Cham.
  3. Mane, G., & Mahadik, M. P. R. (Unknown). One Point Lesson is the Best Continuous Improvement Tool in Manufacturing Industry.

How to cite this article:
Janse, B. (2022). One Point Lesson (OPL). Retrieved [insert date] from Toolshero:

Original publication date: 12/12/2022 | Last update: 04/06/2023

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Ben Janse
Article by:

Ben Janse

Ben Janse is a young professional working at ToolsHero as Content Manager. He is also an International Business student at Rotterdam Business School where he focusses on analyzing and developing management models. Thanks to his theoretical and practical knowledge, he knows how to distinguish main- and side issues and to make the essence of each article clearly visible.


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