Macroergonomics: A Systems Approach to Human Factors and Ergonomics (HF/E)

Instructor: Michelle Robertson, PhD, CPE

July 12 - September 3, 2021 (Online)

May 23 - July 15, 2022 (Online)

Course Summary

This 8-week, asynchronous online course presents fundamental concepts from multiple disciplines that are essential to understanding and implementing macroergonomics principles. The course begins with introducing core topics from systems theory, sociotechnical systems approach, organizational behavior and design, participatory ergonomics and implementing integrated organizational interventions. The class continues with an exploration of various case studies where macroergonomics interventions occurred along with recognizing successful factors in designing and implementing organizational change efforts to enhance well-being, safety, performance and organizational effectiveness. Finally, a systems analysis planning process for designing and evaluating organizational interventions with the goal of creating greater organizational and employee commitment to improve performance, job satisfaction, safety and quality of work life is discussed.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, learners will be able to:

  • Define macroergonomics and the various disciplines that contribute to the field.

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of using a systems approach when designing, implementing and evaluating organizational interventions.

  • Describe the various macroergonomics methods and approaches to assess work systems and to consider the systems sociotechnical characteristics

  • Discuss the rationale for integrating safety and ergonomics programs utilizing participatory approaches to improve employees' well-being and performance.

  • Conduct organizational training assessments to design effective and efficient training programs.

  • Describe macroergonomics and participatory approaches to surveillance, assessment and controls to prevent work related musculoskeletal disorders and to optimize organizational effectiveness.

  • Recognize and identify new ways of working in office and computer work environments, Working From Home, and their associated risk factors from a macroergonomics perspective.

  • Demonstrate a fundamental knowledge of the macroergonomics issues in organizational change efforts.

  • Perform a systems analysis planning process for designing organizational interventions and developing business cases using the Intervention Design and Analysis Scorecard (IDEAS) tool.

Instructor Information 

Michelle Robertson, PhD, CPE


Dr. Robertson is a Board Certified Professional Ergonomist (CPE) and holds a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology, M.S. in Systems Management from the University of Southern California and a B.A. in Human Factors/Ergonomics from the University of California Santa Barbara.  She is a Fellow of the HFES and IEA. Dr. Robertson has published over 95 articles in human factors/ergonomics and has presented her work nationally and internationally. She has been the recipient of several awards, including the Best Paper Award of HFES; NORA/NIOSH innovative research award for her work on designing a macro-ergonomics training program, the NIOSH/APA Best Intervention Honorable Mention paper for her office ergonomics intervention research, and the HFES Alphonse Chapanis best paper award.  

Course Format

This asynchronous online course engages students with weekly activities posted on the course site.  Each week students will read and/or watch resource materials, participate in online discussion forums and complete assignments. There are no required textbooks, but some reference books are recommended, and sections of texts are provided and assigned for reading. The information needed to complete the assignments will be included in the resource material on the course site. Grades are determined by participation in assignments, discussions, and exams.

This is an 8-week accelerated course, with a workload roughly equivalent to a full semester of 3 credit hour graduate coursework. We anticipate the weekly content and assignments to require anywhere between 10-20 hours of student involvement, depending on the individual student's strength and familiarity with HF/E.


This course is offered on a pass / fail basis for continuing education credit. Learners must obtain a final grade of 70% or higher to pass the course and to obtain a Certificate of Completion.

Certified Professional Ergonomists

Certified Professional Ergonomists may be eligible to earn up to 45 contact hours for this course. Visit for more information.

Certified Athletic Trainers

COEH (BOC AP#: P10242) is approved by the Board of Certification, Inc. to provide continuing education to Certified Athletic Trainers. This program is eligible for a maximum of 45 Category A hours. ATs should claim only those hours actually spent in the educational program.

Industrial Hygienists

ABIH® Diplomates may be eligible to earn up to 45 contact hours for this course. 

Visit maintain-certification/cm-credit-education-events for more information.

Certified Safety Professionals

Certified Safety Professionals may be eligible to earn up to 45 contact hours for this course. Visit for more information.

Registered Nurses

Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number 12983, for 45 contact hours.


Registered Environmental Health Specialists

This course has been approved for 45 contact hours, REHS. The Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH) UC Berkeley is a Registered Environmental Health Specialist (REHS) Program Continuing Education Accreditation Agency approved by the California Department of Public Health.


Occupational Therapists

Occupational Therapists may be eligible to earn up to 45 contact hours for this course. Visit for more information.


Cancellation, Transfer, and Withdrawal Policies

Registration Cancellation Policy

Written cancellation notification must be received no later than one week before the start date of an Online Ergonomics Program class in which you are registered in order to qualify for a refund, less a $65.00 administrative fee per registration. Substitute attendees are welcome.

Transfer Policy

You can transfer your registration and payment to a later Online Ergonomics Program class one (1) time with no penalty within ten days of the start date of a class. Subsequent transfers will incur a $65.00 administrative fee per registration. Course Credits must be used within 12 months and are not transferable.

Course Withdrawal Policy

Within the first ten days of an Online Ergonomics Program class, you may withdrawal from the class and receive a refund, less 10% of your course payment. There is no tuition refund following the tenth day of the start date of a class.

Class Cancellation Policy

In the unlikely event that an Online Ergonomics Program class must be cancelled, the entire submitted registration fee will be refunded without further liability on the part of COEH. COEH is not responsible for travel or other costs incurred by students for canceled classes.