Interdisciplinarity in Tomorrow's Engineering Education

A. van den Beemt*, M. MacLeod, J. van der Veen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
116 Downloads (Pure)


Universities are embracing ‘challenge-based learning’ (CBL) to engage students in contributing to real-life societal challenges. In CBL learning takes places through identification, analysis and collaborative design of sustainable and responsive solutions to these challenges. One aspect of CBL is working in interdisciplinary student-teams. Hence, implementation of Interdisciplinary Engineering Education (IEE) is sought, with the aim to train students to bring together expertise from different disciplines in a single context. To support this implementation of IEE, this paper presents a review that synthesizes IEE research with a focus on characterizing vision, teaching practices, and support. We aim to show how IEE is conceptualized, implemented and facilitated in higher engineering education at the levels of curricula and courses. Ninety-nine studies were included for analysis. Results indicate challenges in identifying clear learning goals and assessments (Vision). Furthermore, developing interdisciplinary skills, knowledge, and values needs sound pedagogy and teaming experiences that provide students with authentic ways of engaging in interdisciplinary practice (Teaching). Finally, a limited understanding exists of barriers that hinder the development of engineering programs designed to support interdisciplinarity (Support). This review contributes a level of awareness that allows teachers and educational leadership to take the next step towards interdisciplinarity in CBL.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEngaging, Engineering, Education
Subtitle of host publicationBook of Abstracts, SEFI 48th Annual Conference University of Twente (online), 20-24 September, 2020
EditorsJan van der Veen, Natascha van Hattum-Janssen, Hannu-Matti Järvinen, Tinne de Laet, Ineke ten Dam
Place of PublicationEnschede
PublisherUniversity of Twente
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978-2-87352-020-5
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event48th SEFI Annual Conference on Engineering Education, SEFI 2020 - Online, Enschede, Netherlands
Duration: 20 Sept 202024 Sept 2020
Conference number: 48


Conference48th SEFI Annual Conference on Engineering Education, SEFI 2020
Abbreviated titleSEFI 2020
Internet address


  • Higher education
  • Engineering curriculum
  • Interdisciplinary teaching and learning
  • Challenge-based learning


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