Co-creation of Knowledge in Technology-Enhanced Communities of Learning

Studies

Studies

Studies

This study is conducted under the supervision of Prof. Yael Kali and aims to contribute to the body of knowledge explaining the nature of interdisciplinary learning and interdisciplinary understanding, and their relation to knowledge integration processes.

The 21st century and the 'knowledge revolution' pose challenges that require different ways of thinking and the development of new skills. One of the critical skills is the ability to think and integrate knowledge across disciplines. In this context, education has an important role in promoting these capabilities and yet, it seems that current academic organizational structures are typically geared toward instruction that compartmentalizes disciplines rather than provide students with the tools to integrate knowledge.

In order to promote interdisciplinary understanding, we developed the "Boundary Breaking for Interdisciplinary Learning" (BBIL) model that is based on our "high level conjecture" (Sandoval, 2014)  that interdisciplinary understanding entails deep understanding of disciplinary ideas and connections between them, and that these abilities are gained through meaningful dialogue and exposure to a diversity of ideas and ways of thinking. 
 
The BBIL model harnesses technology to address three traditional practices in higher education instruction: (a) from the curricular perspective, it addresses the traditional compartmentalization of disciplines; (b) from the pedagogical perspective, it addresses the traditional focus on individual learners; and (c) from the organizational perspective, it addresses the traditional academic hierarchy based on levels of expertise.  
 
In the last two years the model has been implemented as academic courses for undergraduate and graduate students. 

The questions that guide this research are:

  1. What characterizes interdisciplinary learning processes of students who study in different communities using the model?
  2. To what extent do students acquire an interdisciplinary understanding of the contents?
  3. What is the contribution of different features embedded in the design of the model to interdisciplinary understanding of the contents in the various courses by students?