EL570 - Problem-solving for Engineers: Root Cause Analysis Fundamentals (On Demand) has been added to your cart.

Problem-solving for Engineers: Root Cause Analysis Fundamentals (On Demand)

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Explore root cause analysis fundamentals and tools while learning to apply root cause analysis to real-world problems.

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This Self Study course is designed to be taken at your convenience and on your own schedule. You have 365 days from the time of purchase to finish the course.


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Even with the best quality systems and training, problems can happen. Root cause analysis (RCA) describes a wide range of approaches, tools, and techniques used to uncover causes of problems. For engineers, this could be applied to failure analysis in engineering and maintenance, quality control problems, safety performance, and computer systems or software analysis. The goal of root cause analysis is to identify the origin of a problem using a systematic approach and determine:

  • What happened
  • Why it happened
  • How to reduce the likelihood that it happens again
  • How to launch a solution implementation plan

This course explores root cause analysis (RCA) tools. Each tool is presented in an easy-to-follow structure: a general description of the tool, its purpose and typical applications, the procedure when using it, an example of its use, a checklist to help you make sure it is applied properly, and different forms and templates.

The examples used can be tailored to many different industries and markets, including manufacturing, robotics, bioengineering, energy, and pressure technology. The layout of this course has been designed to help speed participants' learning through short videos depicting well-known scenarios for analysis in class.

Course Materials (included in purchase of course): 

  • Digital course notes via ASME's Learning Platform

By participating in this course, you will learn how to successfully:

  • Explain the concept of root cause analysis
  • Describe how to use tools for problem cause brainstorming
  • Ask the right questions; establish triggers that drive you to the RCA process
  • Develop strategies for problem cause data collection and analysis
  • Deploy tools for root cause identification and elimination
  • Practice ways of implementation solutions

Who should attend?
This course is intended for engineers and technical professionals involved in flow of complex processes, materials and equipment, or those who serve in a project or product management function.

Course participants are expected to have:

  • Access to computer equipment and a reliable internet connection
  • A calculator
  • Software to display PDF files (such as Adobe Reader)

A Certificate of Completion will be issued to registrants who successfully complete the course and achieve a passing score of 75% or higher on the final exam.  


Root Cause Analysis Introduction

  • What is a problem?
  • What is root cause analysis?

Defining a Problem

  • Problem solving steps
  • Activity: Define group problem

Gathering Information

  • Activity: Gather information group problem

Developing Alternatives

  • Why tree
  • Activity: 5 Whys

Weighing Alternatives

  • Activity: What is your best alternative?
  • Techniques in weighing alternatives

Implementing the Solution/Monitoring Progress

  • Activity: What would be a recommended plan of action?
  • Activity: How would you monitor implementation?

Root Cause Analysis Basics

  • Fishbone diagram
  • Activity: Why did the Titanic sink?
  • Activity: Tacoma Narrows bridge

Problem Cause Data Collection

  • Example: Power plant
  • Exercise: Gas turbines
  • Activity: Quebec bridge collapse
  • Mapping template
  • Activity: 6Ms on RCFA

Root Cause Elimination

  • PROACT technology review
  • Review of failures
  • Activity: Condo collapse

RCFA Using Scientific Method

  • Easy RCA document
  • Rail car simplified RCFA report
  • RCFA document review
  • MFT example

Failure Mores and Effects Analysis

  • Use of FMEA to determine failures
  • FMEA examples
Course Developer

Jim Willey, P.E.

Hydro Plant Engineering Manager for the Chelan County PUD

Jim Willey, P.E., is currently the Engineering Manager for Chelan PUD in Washington State.

More Information


Self Study

100% online independent learning at your own pace. Learners can enroll and start at any time. Courses are accessible for 365 days.
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