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Using The Nintendo Wii ® To Teach Human Factors Principles

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Issues and Opportunities in IE Education

Tagged Division

Industrial Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1334.1 - 14.1334.8



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Paper Authors


Lesley Strawderman Mississippi State University

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Lesley Strawderman is an assistant professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. She conducts research in the area of human factors and ergonomics, specifically looking at the impact of large scale service systems on human use. She has received her IE degrees from Penn State and Kansas State Universities.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Using the Nintendo Wii ® to teach Human Factors Principles


This paper describes how to use of the Nintendo Wii® game console to teach students a variety of human factors principles. First, the concept of Signal Detection Theory (SDT) is explained using a personalized searching game on the Wii®. Next, an activity involving human sensory systems is discussed. Finally, a learning module that addresses control design and feedback, ) is presented. Potential topic areas for future activities, including human computer interaction, are also discussed. The teaching activities described in this paper have been successfully used by the author in past semesters. A sampling of student feedback is provided in the paper. Finally, a discussion of how the activities could be extended to non-human factors courses and outreach activities is presented.


The Nintendo Wii is a popular video game console that allows the player to interact with the games in many new ways. The focus of the Wii gaming system is its controller, called a Wii Remote. The wireless device functions much like a remote control, but has motion detecting technology that allows players to interact with the Wii games using motions. The Wii Remote detects motion and rotation in three dimensions. It also has features that involve other senses, including a rumble feature and speakers in the Wii Remote. Activities on the Wii include many sports activities (baseball, bowling, track and field, etc.), skill games, and classic video games. All games on the Nintendo Wii are centered on the Wii Remote1-4.

Teaching styles that addresses multiple learning styles are considered to be the most effective for student learning5-8. Using the Wii in the classroom allows teachers to involve the active learners in the course. Generally speaking, the Wii is also effective in engaging students in course material. Engagement in the classroom has been shown to improve student learning and performance9-12. This paper presents three unique learning modules that utilize the Nintendo Wii to teach human factors concepts. Extensions for each activity outside of the human factors classroom, higher education, and for instructors without access to a Wii are also presented.

Three learning modules using the Nintendo Wii were created to teach human factors principles. The learning objectives for each module are shown in Table 1. Details for each module are discussed below. The modules have been used in both split level (junior, senior, graduate) and graduate level classes. The size of the courses has typically been between 15 and 30 entrolled students. However, each class has been a mixed-campus class, with some student participating in the classroom and others participating online.

Strawderman, L. (2009, June), Using The Nintendo Wii ® To Teach Human Factors Principles Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5338

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