VU University Amsterdam (NETHERLANDS)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Page: 444 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-617-2484-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain
Society is increasingly confronted with a range of complex problems in the health and life sciences: environmental problems, climate change, combatting hiv/aids and the vicious circle of poverty and health problems. These problems are complex, difficult to deal with since they require the actions of different stakeholders with different interests, views and needs. As these types of complex problems do not fit into specific scientific disciplines, they are difficult to resolve. It is for these kinds of problems that pleas have been made for a different kind of knowledge production: transdisciplinary research, which refers to a process of integration of knowledge of different disciplines and collaboration of stakeholders of both science and society. Although there is an increasing need for transdisciplinary researchers, most of our educational programs still educate monodisciplinary researchers. Very few educational programs train the skills and competences required for transdisciplinary researchers

The VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands offers masters programs which aim to educate researchers who can conduct research at the interface of science and society, and who can contribute to solving complex societal issues. The skills and competences trained in this program differ from mono disciplinary programs. As for all educational programs students the knowledge skills and competences of these students needs to be assessed. The challenge and the question therefore arises whether tools to measure the assessments of students developed for mono disciplinary programs, such as widely applied Blooms taxonomy also are applicable for more transdisciplinary programs.

In this paper we conduct a literature search to the strengths and weaknesses of existing taxonomies, in relation to transdisciplinary education. Amongst others Bloom’s taxonomy, Millers pyramid, Biggs SOLO taxonomy, Romiszowski’s taxonomy and Dee Finck’s taxonomy of significant learning were studied. These taxonomies describe educational learning domains and various levels in learning. We conclude that the current taxonomies have aspects that are suitable for the assessment of transdisciplinary education, but that none of the taxonomies measure all the learning domains required for transdisciplinary research. This research shows the need for the development of a new educational taxonomy to make it possible to assess education that looks beyond single theories, competences and disciplines.
Transdisciplinary education, educational taxonomies.