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Multidisciplinary study: the value and benefits
Multidisciplinary study: the value and benefits

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2 Which definition should I use?

Figure 2 shows that there is an even wider range of definitions that are used to describe studying more than one subject, and each of these has their own place in different circumstances. However, it is important not to worry too much about the detail of these definitions at this stage; the most important thing to remember is that there are benefits (and challenges) in applying the knowledge and skills gained from more than one subject. You’ll cover these in more detail in the following sections.

Described image
Figure 2 Knowledge creation in relation to studying more than one subject.

Now complete Activity 1 to consolidate your understanding.

Activity 1 Defining multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary learning

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

In your own words, write down what you have understood by the terms ‘multidisciplinary’ and ‘interdisciplinary’ learning.

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You might have thought of something along these lines:

Multidisciplinarity is where two or more academic disciplines collaborate for a specific purpose, for instance, when computer scientists, psychologists and sociologists cooperate in the design of human/computer interfaces.

Interdisciplinarity differs from multidisciplinarity because the different disciplines work together to produce new knowledge and understanding.