2022 Human Factors and Ergonomics

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Industrial Engineering and Economics
Aoki Hirotaka  Gu Xiuzhu 
Class Format
Lecture / Exercise /Experiment    (Face-to-face)
Media-enhanced courses
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Course description and aims

This course focuses on a discipline called Human Factors and Ergonomics (HF/E), especially on topics related to human behaviour and cognitive processes, such as sensation, perception, and cognition. Through lectures, experiments, and examples, students will attain foundational knowledge and basic skills on approaches to designing and evaluating human-machine interfaces and work environments. The content covered in this course is divided into four categories: (1) overview of Human Factors and Ergonomics; (2) basics of human cognition and behaviour; (3) common methods in ergonomics research; and (4) approaches and guidelines to the design of human-machine interfaces and work environments. Students will gain knowledge and skills about some of the methodologies and typical thinking processes involved in the design of human interfaces and management contexts.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
1. Explain and be able to given an overview of the human characteristics relevant to work and behavior.
2. Explain the typical methods and thinking processes used in Human Factors and Ergonomics (HF/E).


Human-machine interaction, anthropometry, long-term memory, short-term memory, cognition, workload, fatigue, human error, usability

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

At the beginning of each class, the knowledge and basic skills related to the topics covered are taught. Towards the end of class, students are given experimental tasks or exercises related to the lecture given that day. Attendance is taken in every class. This course is held over two academic quarters. The class meets once a week.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Introduction to Human Factors and Ergonomics (HF/E) Define ergonomics, explain its history, and provide an overview of its concepts.
Class 2 Methods of Human Factors and Ergonomics (problem solving, methodologies, data collection); eye tracking experiment Explain the problem solving and data collection methodologies used in the field.
Class 3 Human musculoskeletal system and motion; anthropometry exercise Explain the human musculoskeletal system at a high level.
Class 4 Human sensory system and perception; visual system experiment Explain the human sensory system and perception at a high level.
Class 5 Human information processing, cognition and memory; Hick-Hyman's law exercise Explain the human information processing, cognition, and memory systems, at a high level.
Class 6 Cognitive ability and its application to design Explain product/system design, considering human cognitive aspects.
Class 7 Human-machine interface Explain the concept of a human-machine interface.
Class 8 Usability engineering (1): Definition and measurement; usability goal-setting exercise Explain the concept of usability and related topics.
Class 9 Usability engineering (2): Designing for usability, prototyping; rapid prototyping exercise Explain how usability design methods are typically carried out, at a high level.
Class 10 Usability engineering (3): Usability heuristics and test; usability heuristics exercise Explain the the procedures of a typical usability test.
Class 11 Usability engineering (4): Usability heuristics and test; usability heuristics exercise Explain the the procedures of a typical usability test.
Class 12 Workload, fatigue Explain the concepts of workload and fatigue and their evaluation.
Class 13 Safety (1): Human error; incident analysis exercise Define human error and describe its relationship to accidents.
Class 14 Safety (2): Risk management and HRA; THERP exercise Explain the concept of risk management and the procedures of HRA.

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend a certain length of time outside of class on preparation and review (including for assignments), as specified by the Tokyo Institute of Technology Rules on Undergraduate Learning (東京工業大学学修規程) and the Tokyo Institute of Technology Rules on Graduate Learning (東京工業大学大学院学修規程), for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course materials.


None required.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Itoh, Kenji. Ergonomics in highly advanced and matured society (Kou-do Seijuku Shakai no Ningen-Kougaku), Tokyo: Nikka-Giren, (Japanese)
Instruction manuals and course materials are provided during class.

Assessment criteria and methods

Students' knowledge of topics in the lectures and their ability to apply this knowledge to exercises/experiments will be assessed. Short quiz (40%), reports (60%).
Full attendance and completion of all experiments are required.

Related courses

  • IEE.C202 : Industrial Engineering
  • IEE.C302 : Quality Management

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

No prerequisites are necessary, but enrollment in related courses is recommended.

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