Innovative Higher Education

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 95-111

First online:

Interdisciplinary Learning: Process and Outcomes

  • Lana IvanitskayaAffiliated withCollege of Extended Learning, Central Michigan University
  • , Deborah ClarkAffiliated withCollege of Extended Learning, Central Michigan University
  • , George MontgomeryAffiliated withCentral Michigan University
  • , Ronald PrimeauAffiliated withCentral Michigan University

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Interdisciplinary learning is characterized by the integration of multidisciplinary knowledge across a central program theme or focus. With repeated exposure to interdisciplinary thought, learners develop more advanced epistemological beliefs, enhanced critical thinking ability and metacognitive skills, and an understanding of the relations among perspectives derived from different disciplines. Our adaptation of Biggs and Collis' (1982) Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome illustrates the stages of interdisciplinary knowledge integration and explains corresponding patterns of learners' intellectual functioning, from acquisition of single-subject information to transfer of interdisciplinary knowledge to other topics, issues, or problems.

interdisciplinary learning critical thinking metacognition epistemology