For the ETG, driving the name change was recognition among EPG members of a need to “expand the scope of its concerns to encompass human factors issues with education generally, with a particular focus on human factors issues with educational technology.” The following rationale for proposing the TG’s name and mission statement are extracted from the document prepared by Thomas J. Smith and presented on the TG’s behalf to the Council of Technical Groups and the HFES Executive Council.
“The time is long overdue for human factors/ergonomics (HF/E) science to play a more direct and influential role in the design of educational environments to promote human learning. . . . With its existing and established emphasis on education, the EPG represents the best candidate within HFES for spearheading
more scientific and practical emphasis and attention on contributions that our science can and should be making to the interaction of educational design and learning.”
Three factors supporting the change in the EPG’s focus were identified: “(1) the concept of educational ergonomics as a distinct disciplinary emphasis within HF/E science; (2) the explosive growth of applications in educational technology, particularly evident in the growth of on-line education and distance learning; and (3) the potential for the EPG to serve both as a resource for information
and expertise and as an organizational base for expanding the role and influence of HF/E science and practice in education.”
“Educational ergonomics has its scientific origins in an extensive body of differential learning research dating back to the last century demonstrating that much of the variability in cognitive performance . . . is attributable neither to innate ability nor to learning ability but to specific design features of the learning environment. For some time now, a passionate debate has been raging regarding the performance of the educational system in the United States. . . .
Sadly lacking in this debate has been any meaningful recognition of the contributions that HF/E science might make to improving the performance of the educational system relative to student and teacher participants as well as overall system management.”