The Role of Interdisciplinarity in Bringing PBL to traditional Universities: Opportunities and Challenges on the Organizational, Team and Individual Level

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Mirjam Braßler


Problem-based learning (PBL) has emerged as a suitable approach to shift from teacher-centered to learner-centered educa-tion. However, higher education institutions (HEIs) experience obstacles stemming from lecturers’ and students’ reservations as well as organizational challenges. Following action research, the author reflects on her implementation of interdisciplinary PBL within one exemplar case study to explore opportunities and challenges of interdisciplinarity in the transition toward a PBL curriculum in a traditional HEI. At the organizational level, interdisciplinarity facilitates collective knowledge creation about PBL by providing interdisciplinary learning spaces and in-house training. At the team level, lecturers as well as students can collectively learn about PBL. At the individual level, interdisciplinary student-to-student and lecturer-to-lecturer learning can enhance personal knowledge about PBL. Monodisciplinary structures, discipline-based differences in teaching and knowledge traditions, as well as individual prejudices are sources of challenges associated with interdisciplinarity in organizational learning.

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