Introduction to Human Factors and Ergonomics

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Course layout

Module 1
Key theme(s): Designing for people, technologies, organizations and environments as systems

Introduction to the various aspects of HFE
  • HFE in relation to technology
  • Human Knowing and Acting
  • Teamwork and Organizational dimension
  • Large-scale systems (safety and accidents)
  • Background of HFE
  • Meaning of Ergonomics
  • Why is it Human Factors and Ergonomics?
  • Breadth and scope of HFE

Brief History of HFE
  • Earlier origins of human scale in everyday contexts
  • Modern times and the advent of the factory system
  • Brief understanding of human relations and industrial psychology
  • World War II and human operators
  • Nuclear power and the operator
  • Product Ergonomics, Cognitive Systems Engineering and beyond
  • Next steps in HFE?
What constitutes essential aspects of HFE?
  • Systems approach
  • Design-driven
  • Performance and well-being (capabilities and limitations)
  • Need to link human performance + macro variables (organizational background) + systems design
  • Humans as participants in a co-design process
Example: HFE in Transportation
Module 2
Key theme: Human Knowing in technological contexts
  • Vision and Perception
  • Cognition
  • Information processing approach
  • Attention and memory
  • Lapses in attention and memory, Types of memory
  • Human decision making

Module 3
Key theme: Human Acting in technological contexts
  • Challenges of different demographics
  • Anthropometrics
  • How does anthropometrics help in design?
  • Body and activity systems
  • Lifting, grasping, pushing and pulling
  • Occupational challenges and muscoskeletal disorders
  • Workplace injuries

Module 4
Key theme: The physical context of human knowing and acting
  • Varieties of work environments
  • Issues related to lighting and sound
  • HFE outside in everyday world
  • Everyday environment and risks
  • Social environment
  • Safety-critical environments
  • Work Space design based on HFE principles

Module 5
Key theme: The sociocultural context of HFE (Organizational dimension)

  • Organizational culture
  • Group and teams dynamics
  • Personality and management styles
  • Leadership styles
  • Job Characteristics and design

Module 6
Key theme: HFE and large scale systems (safety, risk and accidents)
  • HFE and large scale systems
  • Complexity and systems: dynamism, complexity, uncertainty
  • Uncertainty as a fundamental challenge in human performance; coping with the unexpected
  • Dynamic Challenges in large-scale systems not typically present in simple systems
  • Challenges of human behavior in large scale systems, complex interlinkages with technology.
  • Human errors in complex systems
  • Moving beyond human error: beyond the blame game?
  • HFE in relation to safety, risks and accidents

Module 7
Key theme: HFE integration

  • Recap of the last 6 modules: Cognitive; Physical (and physiological); Organizational
  • HFE integration with design, systems and management – the road ahead
  • Step-by-step integration
  • Worker involvement
  • Catering to operators, managers and end users
  • Building an organizational culture for Human factors improvement
  • Understanding work from a human perspective
  • Systems approach + Design-driven + Performance and well-being
  • Reinforcing key themes from each session of the course