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date: 15 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines cognitive and epistemological foundations of interdisciplinary learning and their implications for quality interdisciplinary instruction. It shows that learning processes conducive to interdisciplinary integration reflect the plurality of interdisciplinary pursuits and disciplinary epistemologies—for example, from creating a historical monument to producing a complex explanation of overfishing. The chapter offers an epistemological framework to understand the cognitive demands of interdisciplinary learning and integration pointing to four processes in dynamic interaction: (1) establishing purpose; (2) weighing disciplinary insights; (3) building leveraging integrations, and (4) maintaining a critical stance. In interdisciplinary learning, such processes interact, informing one another as learning progresses iteratively. The result is a system of thought in reflective equilibrium—an improvement in understanding vis-à-vis prior beliefs, as well as an understanding subject to further revision. The framework is applied to two distinct examples of interdisciplinary work and implications for quality instruction are outlined

Keywords: interdisciplinary, learning, teaching, integration, cognition, education, research

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