This webinar was held by the tdAcademy fellowship group “Transdisciplinary Learning Towards Collective Transformation” with BinBin Pearce (tuDelft), Gemma O’Sullivan (Utrecht University), Jillian Student (Wageningen University and Research) and Ulrike Zeshan (University of Central Lancashire). Their discussion explores the current state of TD learning and education in the EU, the different approaches to learning in a design and engineering context, the (potential) role of games in TD learning, and an overview of some different developments among tdAcademy partners in TD learning.

The accompanying document is an overview of the slides provided by the fellows.

Background of the Webinar

Given the increased impetus in European policy (European Commission, 2019, 2020, 2022) to promote TD and growing evidence that knowledge integration is a crucial skill for successful research focused on tackling societal challenges (Hoffmann et al., 2017), there is a need to inform educational practice and policy with research into TD learning. In TD teaching and learning, a particularly important aspect is how we can enable learners to use - consciously and explicitly - a wider range of human capacities. Whereas mainstream education, particularly at secondary and tertiary levels, is over-reliant on the intellect, in TD contexts we equally need other human capacities such as imagination, creativity, empathy, social coordination, and the will to act. This 90-minute webinar on TD learning explores the what and how of TD learning and how university educators are increasingly targeting the development of these capacities or competencies in their work.

Agenda of the webinar

Each fellow offered insights to their perspective on the what and how of TD learning:

Gemma O’Sullivan started the presentation with an overview of the current state of TD education. Her research into TD educational practice proposes a U-shaped educational model for TD wherein the development of key competencies (knowledge integration and activism) depend on a base of intrapersonal, interpersonal and cognitive competencies.

Ulrike Zeshan showcased examples from real-life settings to demonstrate that Serious Games offer a holistic way of activating competencies necessary for TD practice. A game framework licenses responses beyond the intellect and the dynamics of communication and social interaction are very different from conventional meetings or classes.

BinBin Pearce presented developments of TD learning and education emerging within a design and engineering context in higher education.

Finally, Jillian Student shared her experiences of developing intra- and inter-university TD learning at her university. She presented an overview of insights learned from the group’s site visits to the tdAcademy institutes and universities in 2023.