EXPANDING HORIZONS: ENGAGING STUDENTS WITH EMPATHIC THINKING
Editor: Bohemia, Erik; Kovacevic, Ahmed; Buck, Lyndon; Brisco, Ross; Evans, Dorothy; Grierson, Hilary; Ion, William; Whitfield, Robert Ian
Author: Woodcock, Andree (1); McDonagh, Deana (2); Magee, Paul (1); Ball, Tim (1); Iqbal, Sana (1)
Institution: 1: Coventry University, United Kingdom; 2: University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
Section: Innovation 4
DOI number: https://doi.org/10.35199/epde2019.49
Young student designers have little experience with populations unlike themselves. This can present challenges when project briefs require them to design for people with different life experiences and abilities. Without this understanding their designs may fail to meet the needs of target users. Over the last two years the authors have conducted a series of short, studio based, low fidelity interventions with design and engineering students to widen their empathic horizons and appreciation of what it feels like to be old. The paper reports on the latest of these interventions with a cohort of product design students conducted in 2019 who were asked to develop concepts to support mobility of older people. The intervention not only increased their understanding and empathy with older people but also led them to understand the value and even enjoy undertaking research.