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Teaching Prevention through Design (PtD) Principles Using a Non-Traditional Pedagogical Strategy

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Many accidents occur during construction and maintenance of facilities. Both research and practice have demonstrated that decisions made during the design and planning phases before work at a construction site

Many accidents occur during construction and maintenance of facilities. Both research and practice have demonstrated that decisions made during the design and planning phases before work at a construction site can influence workers’ safety. The Prevention through Design (PtD) concept is the consideration of construction site safety in the design of a project. In one research study, more than 200 fatality investigation reports were reviewed, and the results showed that 42 percent of fatalities reviewed were linked to the absence of the PtD concept (Behm, 2005). This work indicates that the associated risk that contributed to the incident would have been reduced or eliminated if PtD had been utilized.

Researchers have identified the reasons for not applying the PtD concept. The predominant reason is that most architects and design engineers do not learn about construction safety and construction processes required to eliminate construction safety hazards through design. Therefore, Prevention through Design education of architects, design engineers, and construction managers is vital. However, in most curricula, there is no room for an entire course focused on PtD. Therefore, one researcher implemented 70 minutes long lecture-based intervention in a project management class of the civil engineering discipline, but it did not prove effective (Behm, Culvenor, & Dixon, 2014).

Hence, there is an opportunity to teach PtD to students using alternative teaching strategies such as computer games. Computer games are routinely considered as the most important and influential medium by college students. In this research study, a serious game and a paper-based game (paper version of the serious game) were developed and implemented. The aim of the study was to measure the effectiveness of alternative teaching methods to train students for safe design thinking. The result shows that the computer game engaged the students in comprehensive hazard recognition challenges. The learning experience of the students was compared to two other interventions: paper-based game and lecture-based teaching. The in-class lecture and the computer game were effective in delivering the prevention through design topics. The game was more effective compared to the lecture. The paper-based game failed to motivate students to learn. This dissertation discusses the possible reasons for success and failures of these pedagogical approaches.

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  • 2017