Understanding Students’ Diversity in Inclusive Design: A Review of Literature on Students’ Empathy and Prosocial Motivation from Cultural Differences

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Hye Jeong ParkHuiwon LimYongyeon Cho

Abstract: The goal of inclusive design is “design for all,” and it has been considered a valuable approach to universal design and user-centered design in engineering design education. Although there are diverse methods to achieve the goal of inclusive design, individuals’ diverse cultural backgrounds, empathy, and prosocial motivation are essential. The aim of this study is to investigate how engineering students’ cultural backgrounds (collectivism and individualism) can be intertwined in classrooms and promote students’ empathy and prosocial motivation for generating inclusive design solutions. Through the review of previous studies, students with collectivist cultures represented a higher empathy degree, and they frequently perceived prosocial motivation for others rather than students from individualist cultures. To amplify engineering students’ empathy and prosocial motivation with respecting their cultural differences, this study followed the “three needs” of Oxford and Gkonou (2018) to suggest teaching methods for engineering design education. Diverse types of in- and outside-class activities, such as class discussions, role-playing, sharing students’ own stories, and problem-based learning are recommended for enhancing students’ empathy and prosocial motivation to understand others with diverse perspectives for inclusive ideas.

Keywords: Empathy, Prosocial motivation, Diversity, Cultural differences, Teaching strategies, Inclusive design, Engineering design education

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1003346

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