A multidimensional approach to examine student interdisciplinary learning in science and engineering in higher education

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Abstract

Preparing science and engineering students to work in interdisciplinary teams necessitates research on teaching and learning of interdisciplinary thinking. A multidimensional approach was taken to examine student interdisciplinary learning in a master course on food quality management. The collected 615 student experiences were analysed for the cognitive, emotional, and social learning dimensions using the learning theory of Illeris. Of these 615 experiences, the analysis showed that students reported 214, 194, and 207 times on, respectively, the emotional, the cognitive, and the social dimension. Per learning dimension, key learning experiences featuring interdisciplinary learning were identified such as ‘frustrations in selecting and matching disciplinary knowledge to complex problems’ (emotional), ‘understanding how to apply theoretical models or concepts to real-world situations’ (cognitive), and ‘socially engaging with peers to recognise similarities in perceptions and experiences’ (social). Furthermore, the results showed that students appreciated the cognitive dimension relatively more than the emotional and social dimensions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)761-774
JournalEuropean Journal of Engineering Education
Volume42
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • higher education
  • interdisciplinary course
  • Interdisciplinary thinking
  • learning processes
  • student experiences

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