Research Initiation: Enhancing the Learning Outcomes of Empathic Innovation in Biomedical Engineering Senior Design Projects

Nan Kong, Senay Purzer, Lindsey Payne, Eunhye Kim, Carolina Vivas-Valencia
2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access Proceedings   unpublished
Dr. Lindsey Payne is a Director in the Office of Engagement at Purdue University coordinating servicelearning programs and initiatives. She has a courtesy appointment in Environmental and Ecological Engineering where she teaches a service-learning course in which interdisciplinary teams of students collaboratively identify stormwater management problems, co-design solutions, maintain budgets, and evaluate impacts with community partners. Dr. Payne's research sits at the intersection of
more » ... ility, teaching and learning, and engagement focusing on transdisciplinary decision-making frameworks in communitybased design projects. She also specializes in the assessment of instructional effectiveness and student learning in active learning environments. She is the recipient of multiple teaching awards, and is the Chair of the Teaching Academy. She has a B.A in Biological Sciences from DePauw University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Ecological Sciences and Engineering from Purdue University. She has also worked professionally in the non-profit and secondary education sectors, and currently serves on multiple community-based environmental boards. Abstract One of the aims of biomedical engineering is to facilitate the development of innovative technologies to address socioeconomic challenges in healthy living and independent aging. Realizing such innovations requires empathy, agility, and creativity. This project aims to support the professional development of a competent biomedical engineer workforce that can effectively accomplish emphatic innovation, and one that can frame and re-frame problems through the innovation process. Our research examined how engineering students empathize with users and develop empathic abilities that have implications on their design innovation skills. The project team developed empathic innovation workshops and embedded them into existing biomedical engineering capstone courses. Data were collected using surveys, student project reports, ideation tasks, and observations. These workshops resulted in significant changes in students' emphatic tendencies. From our qualitative studies, we also conjectured that the overall empathic potency of a student design team helped facilitate problem re-framing based on user input. These findings contribute to the literature on the critical role of innovation behaviors in relationship to empathic design tendencies in the context of biomedical engineering, as well as suggest instructional practices designed to promote empathy, agility, and creativity.
doi:10.18260/1-2--35150 fatcat:24bp3hqnsvgtzlfybjjnixue6u