Making the Link Between Transdisciplinary Learning and Research

Pearce, BinBin; Adler, Carolina; Senn, Lisette; Krütli, Pius; Stauffacher, Michael; Pohl, Christian (2018). Making the Link Between Transdisciplinary Learning and Research. In: Fam, Dena; Neuhauser, Linda; Gibbs, Paul (eds.) Transdisciplinary Theory, Practice and Education (pp. 167-183). Springer 10.1007/978-3-319-93743-4_12

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This chapter discusses how complex, real-world topics related to sustainable development are tackled through a curriculum that fosters transdisciplinary skills and thinking for students at an environmental sciences department at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland (ETH Zurich). We describe a process through which university students at all levels learn how to handle complex, real-world problems. We argue that the ability to frame complex problems and the ability to empathize with diverse points-of-view are key skills for transdisciplinary learning and research. Competence fields are identified by reflecting on the actual skills needed for conducting a transdisciplinary research process and by identifying elements from past teaching experiences that have proven to be effective. We then develop a framework which shows how these competence fields link different learning domains, so that students develop not only cognitive, but also affective and psychomotor abilities. This framework may serve as a starting point for the design of other courses aimed at training transdisciplinarians.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography

UniBE Contributor:

Adler, Carolina


900 History > 910 Geography & travel
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 370 Education


978-3-319-93742-7 (print); 978-3-319-93743-4 (online)






Carolina Adler

Date Deposited:

06 Nov 2018 09:51

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:18

Publisher DOI:





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