Integration

This teaching topic is about integration, in a broad sense. Focusing on integration of knowledge, skills and attitude, integration of different subject areas in an educational program and integration of knowledge on a basic level and application level. Integration is a concept that is difficult to grasp, but it can be stated that the more aspects are being integrated the harder to discern these aspects.

In response to the complex challenges students face today, education is focusing on offering integrated educational learning setting (1). Settings where students learn to combine theories, concepts and methods in a single context (2). The goal of this approach is to deliver students who are able to solve problems and who can create solutions in different kinds of authentic situations.

References:

1. Repko, A. F., Szostak, R., & Buchberger, M. P. Introduction to interdisciplinary studies. s.l. : Sage Publications, 2016. 9781506346915. 

2. Does interdisciplinarity promote learning? Theoretical support and researchable questions. Lattuca, L. R., Voigt, L. J., & Fath, K. Q. s.l. : The Review of Higher Education, 2004, Vol. 28(1). 23-48.

Project-based learning and integration go together (1). In a project-led system where integration is at the root, it seems that students achieve deep learning and understanding of the topic (2). Students are motivated, and it is more likely they regulate their learning in such a system (3). 

In addition, students are more capable of putting theoretical knowledge into context, and have a better retention of their knowledge in an integrated project-led system than in a separated-discipline system (4,5). 

Also very important is the fact that integration stimulates collaboration between teachers from different disciplines, in undergraduate education but also within research (1). Nevertheless, it is acknowledged that integrating aspects takes time and work in planning, organization and execution, and also needs to be free of rivalry between departments (1).

References:

1. Pros and cons of vertical integration between clinical medicine and basic science within a problem-based undergraduate medical curriculum: examples and experiences. Dahle, L. O., Brynhildsen, J., Fallsberg, M. B., Rundquist, I., & Hammar M. Linköping, Sweden : Medical teacher, 2002, Vol. 24(3). 280-285. 

2. Experience with a theme-based integrated renal module for a second-year MBBS class. Shafi, R., Quadri, K. H. M., Ahmed, W., Mahmud, S. N., & Iqbal, M. s.l. : Advances in physiology education, 2010, Vol. 34(1). 15-19. 

3. Integrating knowlegde, skills and attitudes: Conceptualising learning processes towards vocational competence. Baartman, L. K., & De Bruijn, E. s.l. : Educational Research Review, 2011, Vol. 6(2). 125-134. 

4. The psychological basis of problem-based learning: A review of the evidence. Norman, G. R., & Schmidt, H. G. s.l. : Academic medicine, 1992, Vol. 67(9). 557-65. 

5. Integration of pharmacology into a problem-based learning curriculum for medical students. Sivam, S. P., Latridis, P. G., & Vaughn, S. s.l. : Medical education, 1995, Vol. 29(4). 289-296. 

Experiences and tips:

From literature

1. Use backward designing: start with the learning goals (1). 

2. Working together? Start by making a mind map together, some area’s may be naturally integrated (2). 

3. Integration can be facilitated by: strong leadership, faculty development programmes, vertical integration groups (students with experts) and a reform of the reward system1.

4. Assessment should be part of the (re)design of the curriculum and courses, in order to achieve the intended goal of integration (3). 

From our teachers and experts

1. List main subjects that you want to integrate and align what is naturally connected (Jasper) 

2. Release the fixed frameworks in which your course is normally taught: be flexible to switch topics around. (Jasper) 

3. Look for a connection with the interests of students. (Peter & Thomas) 

4. Keep on developing your education. (Peter & Thomas)

References:

1. Wiggins, G. P., & McTighe, J. Understanding by design. s.l. : ASCD, 2005. 9781416600350

2. Pros and cons of vertical integration between clinical medicine and basic science within a problem-based undergraduate medical curriculum: examples and experiences. Dahle, L. O., Brynhildsen, J., Fallsberg, M. B., Rundquist, I., & Hammar M. Linköping, Sweden : Medical teacher, 2002, Vol. 24(3). 280-285. 

3. de Campos, L. C., Dirani, E. A. T., Manrique, A. L., & van Hattum-Janssen, N. Project approaches to learning in Engineering Education. s.l. : Sense Publishers, 2012. 978-94- 6091-958-9.