In 2005, the HFES Education and Training Committee initiated a special project designed to create a set of educational resources for members and nonmembers: the Educational Resource Project (ERP). We hope the resources and links in the Educational Resources section of the HFES Web site will benefit educators and students as well as human factors/ergonomics professionals at all levels.
The mission of the Educational Resource Project (ERP) is to provide HFES members with resources that they can use to educate and train themselves and others in the field of HF/E.
In 2003, the Education and Training Committee conducted a survey to assess the education and training needs of HFES members. The results indicated that it is important for HFES members to advance their education and training in particular content and skill areas, and to attract undergraduates to the field of HF/E. Complete results can be viewed here. In addition, survey respondents identified Web sites as a needed forum for education. The ERP is designed to address these needs.
A second member educational needs survey was conducted in 2009 to follow up the 2003 survey and determine if activities initiated by the committee and the Society as a whole had addressed any of the needs expressed by 2003 respondents. The full report of the 2009 survey is available.
To help HFES stay current with our members' needs, a third education and training needs survey was conducted in 2013. The full report of the 2013 survey is now available.
The two primary aims of the ERP are to provide HFES members with resources that they can access freely and easily in order to (a) introduce undergraduates to the area of HF/E so students will have sufficient time to decide whether they would like to pursue graduate degrees in HF/E, and (b) further members' education and training in specific topics within HF/E. More generally, the ERP helps achieve several of the goals and objectives of the HFES Strategic Plan, specifically the Education and Training Goal: Promote the teaching of HF/E science, philosophy, and practice.
The committee identified critical categories within each of the two primary aims, and discussed a possible structure for the visual layout of the resource materials. The committee also developed a vetting procedure for selecting resources and a time-line for achieving milestones, including a schedule for implementing the ERP and for updating it during the year. Candidate materials were solicited in the HFES Bulletin, from the National Ergonomics Month Web site and HFES student chapters, and from HFES Technical Group members.
The Committee conceptualizes the development of content in two main phases:
Phase 1. Introduce undergraduates to the area of HF/E. Materials in the first phase of development include a list of definitions of human factors/ergonomics, links to HF/E course syllabi, textbooks that are used in classroom teaching, courses offered across psychology and engineering programs, helpful information about working in the field and making the most of internships, and links to the HFES Directory of Human Factors/Ergonomics Graduate Programs and the list of undergraduate HF/E programs.
Phase 2. Further members' education and training in specific topics within HF/E. The planned categories in this phase include online courses on general topics, continuing education opportunities, online materials on specific training topics, textbooks on specific topics, journals and other published materials, research resource Web sites (e.g., statistics), standards, and publishing issues such as copyright and plagiarism.
It is the committee's hope that members will find the ERP resources useful, for example, to introduce students to HF/E, guide individuals who wish to pursue a career in HF/E, develop curricula, find useful reference materials, and enhance knowledge and skills in specific areas. For example, university instructors who teach undergraduate courses in psychology and engineering can use these resources to introduce HF/E to students. This will help in recruiting undergraduates to the field, which is a need that was identified in the 2003 E&T survey.
ERP would provide tools that HFES members can use to further their education and training in HF/E in the content and skill areas identified as top needs in the E&T survey. Providing the materials through the Internet would satisfy another top need of providing Web forums for education and training.
The materials provided in the ERP Web site are freely available to appropriate parties for public education and outreach.