Engaging large class with inclusive design through the use of simulation tools and interdisciplinary collaboration
A user-centred approach and interdisciplinary team work are increasingly becoming important in the learning and teaching of design. Whilst it is good practice to introduce relevant theories to design
students, it is challenging to organise course projects that involve different disciplines. It is also difficult to help design students appreciate users’ real needs if the user population (e.g. people with
severe disabilities) is unfamiliar to the students. This paper reports a project that aims to explore how simulation tools can be used in helping students understand users and their contexts of use; and how design students work with volunteering occupational therapy (OT) students in answering a healthcare design brief. The project is a roll-out of a successful pilot study. The student participants were asked to answer a questionnaire before and after the project, and to attend a focus group interview at the end of the project to reflect on their experience. Data were collected regarding the usefulness of the simulation tools, and the benefits of working in an interdisciplinary team. Suggestions were made in learning design through the use of simulation tools and interdisciplinary collaboration.