A Human Centred Design 'Makerthon': The creation of a framework for teaching Humanitarian Engineering competencies

Gan, W, Fiford, R, Brown, N, Perkins, S and Wong, C 2018, 'A Human Centred Design 'Makerthon': The creation of a framework for teaching Humanitarian Engineering competencies', in Proceedings of 29th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE 2018), Hamilton, New Zealand, 9-12 December 2018, pp. 1-7.


Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Conference Papers

Title A Human Centred Design 'Makerthon': The creation of a framework for teaching Humanitarian Engineering competencies
Author(s) Gan, W
Fiford, R
Brown, N
Perkins, S
Wong, C
Year 2018
Conference name AAEE 2018
Conference location Hamilton, New Zealand
Conference dates 9-12 December 2018
Proceedings title Proceedings of 29th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE 2018)
Publisher The Australasian Association for Engineering Education
Place of publication New Zealand
Start page 1
End page 7
Total pages 7
Abstract CONTEXT Organisations, like Engineers Without Borders Australia (EWB), deliver initiatives in which participants develop a deeper understanding of the role a Human Centred Approach, the process of Human Centred Design (HCD) and the development of appropriate technology play in creating a positive change within communities. One such initiative, EWB’s Humanitarian Design Summit program has seen over 1300 students participate in immersive study tours delivered in six countries in the Asia-Pacific region since 2015. A refined version of the Humanitarian Design Summit is proposed to run locally in the form of a weekend ‘Makerthon’ event. Through problem based learning, participants in the ‘Makerthon’ are encouraged to further explore the application of human centred approaches and human centred design and how it relates to their studies and professions. While similar makerthon or hackathon type initiatives are becoming more popular, the potential impacts of delivering these initiatives with a focus on the above mentioned concepts could be examined through the implementation and evaluation of this focussed ‘Makerthon’. PURPOSE To strengthen the effectiveness of the HCD ‘Makerthon’ event, an opportunity exists to develop a teaching and learning framework that can be implemented to provide participants a basic competency in human centred approaches and HCD in a short period of time, and to develop an evaluation plan to assess whether learning outcomes were met. APPROACH Core skills and capabilities that demonstrate competency in HCD were identified through content analysis of HCD models applied across different industries and interviews with subject matter experts. Initiatives following similar formats of problem and multidisciplinary team based solution generation were reviewed as case studies; to assess how participation and competencies are evaluated in short, intensive workshops. An assessment of competencies gained by participants were then determined through a combination of observation and surveys. RESULTS From this investigation a pedagogically sound learning framework to develop HCD competencies and engineering teaching and learning approaches for intense training was created. The framework was validated at HCD focussed ‘Makerthon’ events, leading to recommendations on best practice for these events to be refined and successfully delivered nationwide. CONCLUSIONS The success of the ‘Makerthon’ in effectively delivering concepts of HCD was proven through questionnaire surveys, which demonstrated participants’ appreciation of community involvement and deep understanding of the human centred approach. Feedback from the community partner implied that the ‘Makerthon’ adds value to their work. The pedagogy developed reflects best practice and approaches to deliver future ‘Makerthon’ events.
Subjects Engineering not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) Human Centred Design
Humanitarian Engineering
intensive learning
problem based learning
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