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Aalborg University meets 4TU Centre for Engineering Education in Delft.

Monday, 5 December 2022

Renate Klaassen [TU Delft]

During the recent work visit of Aalborg University to 4TU.CEE in Delft, extensive exchanges took place on the topics Inter- and Transdisciplinary Learning Environments and Curriculum Design in Engineering Education, Professional Developments for Teachers, Impact on Students’ Cognitive and Personal Development and last but not least, discussed Theoretical Frameworks for framing various processes taking place in inter- and transdisciplinary learning. 

The Aalborg PBL Centre has recently set up a project for interdisciplinary learning; Inter-PBL contributes to developing innovative educational models – national and international – to educate engineers to work proactively in an interdisciplinary work environment to deal with the increasing complexity of engineering and contribute to a sustainable society. The 4TU Centre for Engineering Education (4TU.CEE) has had Interdisciplinary teaching and learning on the strategic agenda since 2014 for similar reasons. The topic of interdisciplinarity successively evolved towards challenge-based education. Challenge-based education is often realized in inter- and transdisciplinary settings. The pedagogical format has a strong resemblance to Aalborg University's Problem Based Learning (PBL). The overlapping goals and ambitions of both Centres were a perfect reason to team up and explore the many research and educational innovation activities offering opportunities for collaboration between the 4TU Centre for Engineering Education and Aalborg PBL Centre.

We teamed up for two days at the end of September 2022 with 35 researchers. The meeting's agenda focused on networking and exchange. The setup intended to create in-depth discussions which uncover the opportunities and dilemmas of Inter and transdisciplinary learning formats in Engineering Education.  


Perry den Brok: talk about the 4TU Centre for Engineering Education:
Hans Hellendoorn: Interdisciplinary Education at TU Delft:
Chantal Brans & Antoine van den Beemt: Research and Innovation in Interdisciplinary Challenge-Based Learning (Higher education prize 2021):
Henrik Worm Routhe: Unconference Round table:
Klaas Jan Visscher: Transdisciplinary learning in DesignLab at the University of Twente (Higher education prize 2022):
Judith Gulikers: Interdisciplinary ways of working at Wageningen University:

On the first day, we explored curricular innovations happening at TU Delft and the Innospace at the TU/Eindhoven while also having an interactive workshop deliberating collaborative learning between master students and professionals from the WUR. We continued sharing our work-related insights during dinner at Einstein's while proceeding to informal talks. The dinner confirmed that the Danes have similar values and a sense of humour to the Dutch. Discussion topics this first day were, amongst others:

  1. How to scale up labour-intensive learning formats like interdisciplinary education?
  2. What is the role of autonomy and ownership in interdisciplinary learning?
  3. What obstacles occur in working with a population that has extremely diverse and different levels of knowledge and experience?

The next day we continued our exploration with more theoretical research concepts and their applications. Wageningen University's contribution to boundary crossings and Twentes' philosophies around curriculum constructions for the Design factory stirred the conversation towards an in-depth debate. Aalborg led the unconference round table on critical topics of mutual interest to be explored for future collaborative activities. Discussions on the second day addressed, amongst other Boundary Crossing, adding intercultural competencies to the mix and explorative discussions on assessment.

 The meeting was rounded up with intentions for further collaboration;

Both parties experienced an inspirational and enlightening two days which certainly deserves serious follow-up. The first working group has already had its second meeting. We are looking forward to the collaborative results! 

Greetings and learning from the Aalborg visitors

The Aalborg visitors express their gratitude for the organization of a very impressive program with so many different presentations. We were very overwhelmed by the number of interdisciplinary activities in the Dutch higher engineering education represented by 4TU, and during these two days we have learned a lot about various ways to integrate interdisciplinary learning into engineering education. Internally at Aalborg University, the learning from this visit has already been presented for a working group on developing AAU interdisciplinary education.

Would you like to know more: 

Publication on 4TU Centre for Engineering Education projects: