Marleen Spierings
by on February 21, 2020

Facilitating educators in their role as change agents means that in education coLabs are needed in which "open dialogic exchange" becomes possible for generating new solutions. How can Colabs increase adaptive ability, scope, and influence?

Renate G. Klaassen mentions in her article (2017) that traditionally "engineering innovations, amongst other driving forces, came about in the seventeenth century in experimental craft labs. As craft guilds had to evolve due to technological innovation, becoming organisations that could answer more complicated societal problems, labs came into existence. In these labs, craftsman experimented with new ways of developing technology driven products and improvements of production techniques by means of open dialogic conversations. As several craftsmen with different expertise came together in the labs, interdisciplinary exchange came naturally into the cooperative endeavour (Sennett 2013)." And indeed, in education today we need coLabs within which "open dialogic exchange" can again generate new solutions. "Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary are integral parts of the technological innovation cycles and they bridge the gap between research, industry and education (Ehlen 2015)."

Klaassen defines interdisciplinary research as follows: "Interdisciplinary research can be defined first and foremost as a team or an individual expert (scientist or otherwise), who integrates methods, knowledge and skills, theories, perspectives and different disciplinary knowledge bodies, to realise innovative solutions and knowledge advancement in uncharted problem areas (Castán Broto, Gislason, and Ehlers 2009; Lam, Walker, and Hills 2014; Menken and Keestra 2016). De Jonge Akademie (Evers et al. 2015) even argues a change in scholarly identity takes place as a result of the integrated approach in interdisciplinary research. Thus the ‘new’ scholarly identity becomes a symbiosis of disciplinary questions, methods and outcomes. Key characteristics in these definitions of interdisciplinary research are (1) the integration of a number of disciplinary elements also called the bridging and symbioses between different disciplines, (2) the possible implicit collaboration engrained in this interdisciplinary activity, (3) the art of identifying new problems and (4) the realisation of novel solutions and knowledge across different disciplines."

She goes on by mentioning that transdiciplinary research involves "beyond the knowledge of professional experts and scientists, a layman’s knowledge to come to new innovative solutions. It is often characterised by complex stakeholder involvement. She defines integrated knowledge as "modes of thinking in two or more disciplines or established areas of expertise to produce a cognitive advancement – such as explaining a phenomenon, solving a problem, or creating a product – in ways that would have been impossible or unlikely through single disciplinary means. (Spelt et al. 2009)"

This article just might spark a need to facilitate educators in their role as change agents by increasing and allowing their adaptive ability, scope, and influence (Dutch: 'adaptief vermogen').

© M. Spierings

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