2016 Applied Cognitive Ergonomics

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Industrial Engineering and Economics
Itoh Kenji  Aoki Hirotaka 
Class Format
Media-enhanced courses
Day/Period(Room No.)
Mon3-4(W9-414)  Thr3-4(W9-414)  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Language used
Access Index

Course description and aims

This course focuses on a discipline called cognitive ergonomics and its applications, and provides knowledge and basic skills about the discipline, its approaches and its applications to actual design of human-machine systems, work and organisations. Among various contents related to cognitive ergonomics, this class focuses on applications of approaches and methods to actual design and evaluation of human-machine systems and organisational aspects. Contents covered in this course are divided into three categories, for which some case studies are included: (1) Introduction to cognitive ergonomics, (2) Human-machine interaction and usability, and (3) Human errors and risk management.
Students will gain knowledges and skills about the advanced methodologies in cognitive ergonomics suited to modern industrial contexts.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
1. Explain the methods/thinking processes for design of human-machine systems based on human cognitive aspects.
2. Explain the important concepts regarding human error and risk management, and methods/approaches relating to the concepts used in implementation of organisational/managerial countermeasures and accident analysis.


Human-machin system, user-centred design, usability engineering, human error, risk management, safety culture, safety performance measurement

Competencies that will be developed

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

Class flow

In each class, knowledge and basic skills related to the topics are taught. In addition, students are asked to conduct group works to better understand the topics covered.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Basics in cognitive ergonomics Understand the overall image of cognitive ergonomics.
Class 2 Approaches to cognitive ergonomics (Thinking processes in cognitive ergonomics, data acquisition and analysis) Explain the typical methods/approaches and thinking processes used in cognitive ergonomics.
Class 3 Human-machine system 1 (Cognition, human information processing) Explain the concept of human-machine systems.
Class 4 Human-machine system 2 (User-centred design, scenario-based design, personas) Explain user-centred design processes and methods included in the processes, roughly.
Class 5 Research in human-machins systems 1 (Eye tracking applications) Explain application domains of human-machine sysmtes research and some example cases.
Class 6 Research in human-machine systems 2 (Demonstration) Gain understanding of the eye tracking applications by an experiment.
Class 7 Presentation of groupwork Presentation
Class 8 Usability 1 (Definitions of usability by ISO and Nielsen) Explain two types of definition of usability and typical methodologies included in usability engineering.
Class 9 Usability 2 (Usability testing, user experience) Explain practical methods for usabioity design/evaluation, roughly.
Class 10 Human error theory (Accident causes in high risk systems, types of human erroneous actions, mechanisms of accident, classification of errors and contexts, approaches for accident prevention, foolproof and fail-safe approaches for accident analysis, strengths and weaknesses of each approach) Explain the humam error theory.
Class 11 Risk management (Definition of risk, rrsk comparisons between systems, accident causes in high risk systems, traditional risk management approach, trade-off between efficiency and thoroughness, resilience engineering) Explain risk management and relating concepts.
Class 12 Safety culture Definition of safety culture, differences between culture and climate, dimensions of safety culture, purposes of safety culture assessment, methods for safety culture assessment, safety culture factors, components of safe culture, overlapped cultures, safety culture in healthcare) Explain safety culture and relating concepts.
Class 13 Safety performance measurement and incident reporting (Methods for measuring safety outcomes, incident reporting system, error taxonomy, safety/quality performance indicators, global trigger tool, contributions of safety culture to safety outcomes) Explain safety performance measurement, incident reporting and relations between safety culture and safety outcomes.
Class 14 Case study (Applications to railway safety) Gain understandings of the risk management and safety culture based on cases in railway safety researches)
Class 15 Presentation of groupwork Presentation


None required.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Students' knowledge of topics in the lecture, and their ability to apply them to groupworks will be assessed. Short quiz 50%, groupwork 50%.
Full attendance and completion of all experiments are compulsory.

Assessment criteria and methods

Students' knowledge of topics in the lecture, and their ability to apply them to groupworks will be assessed. Short quiz 50%, groupwork 50%.
Full attendance and completion of all experiments are compulsory.

Related courses

  • IEE.C202 : Industrial Engineering
  • IEE.C302 : Quality Management
  • IEE.C304 : Ergonomics

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

No prerequisites.

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