Toronto Metropolitan University
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Social Simulations Teach Engineering Student to Gain 'Buy-In' for Human Factors

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Version 3 2022-10-04, 13:03
Version 2 2022-09-29, 16:33
Version 1 2021-05-21, 16:12
posted on 2022-10-04, 13:03 authored by Patrick NeumannPatrick Neumann, Rheta Rosen
This presentation describes social skill development of undergraduate industrial engineering students using ‘social simulations’ in which students interact with trained actors in a designed social scenario. We present the example scenario of a young engineer who must gain buy in from industrial personnel to apply human factors (HF) in production system design. This experiential learning activity was designed with the Interpersonal Skills Teaching Centre at Ryerson University, in response to research evidence that training engineers in HF science alone is ineffective if the organisational environment and culture do not ‘buy-in’ to available benefits. The simulation is enacted by 3 actor/simulators in 2 scenes. They represent the plant manager, human resources manager, union representative, maintenance manager, purchasing agent, and production supervisor for a small manufacturing plant. Students take turns being engineers from head office who have been sent to help design a new production system for improved performance and reduced injury using HF principles. Students must address the concerns of each of the plant’s stakeholders to gain buy-in for this new approach for production development. This presentation will present and discuss the methodology and evaluation options for this technique for teaching social skills to engineering students.




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