STORER, MCDONAGH and DENTON, 2003. A pain in the rear: new graduates' understanding of ergonomics in design. IN: Proceedings of Contemporary Ergonomics, 3rd Annual Conference, Edinburgh
In a university context it is important to understand and appreciate prior
learning and attitudes when planning teaching and learning experiences. This
paper presents a study undertaken with new industrial design undergraduates
with particular reference to their knowledge and application of ergonomic
principles in a design task. Design teams of 3 students were established and
given the task of mind mapping their approach to the design of a new bicycle
seat. The mind maps were analysed in relation to the general fields emerging
(e.g. initial ideas, research, materials and ergonomics). Follow up interviews
were held to explore issues raised in more depth.
Findings indicate only an extremely basic level of understanding of
ergonomics was demonstrated, which primarily focused on anthropometrics.
Teachers appear to focus only at this level and students who have a deeper
understanding of ergonomics are achieving this via personal interest and
resources outside the classroom. Conclusions are drawn relating to teaching
and learning ergonomics within undergraduate industrial design courses.