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Enhancing (in)formal learning ties in interdisciplinary management courses: a quasi-experimental social network study

Rienties, Bart and Héliot, YingFei (2018). Enhancing (in)formal learning ties in interdisciplinary management courses: a quasi-experimental social network study. Studies in Higher Education, 43(3) pp. 437–451.

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While interdisciplinary courses are regarded as a promising method for students to apply knowledge from other disciplines, there is limited empirical evidence available whether interdisciplinary courses can effectively “create” interdisciplinary students. In this quasi-experimental study amongst 377 Master’s students, in the control condition students were randomised by the teacher into groups, while in the experimental condition students were “balanced” by the teacher into groups based upon their initial social network. Using Social Network Analysis, learning ties after eleven weeks were significantly predicted by the friendship and learning ties established at the beginning of the course, as well as (same) discipline and group allocation. The effects were generally greater than group divisions, irrespective of the two conditions, but substantially smaller than initial social networks. These results indicate that interdisciplinary learning does not occur “automatically” in an interdisciplinary module. This study contributes to effective learning in interdisciplinary learning environments.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2016 Society for Research into Higher Education
ISSN: 1470-174X
Keywords: interdisciplinary learning; social network analysis; post-graduate management education; boundary crossing
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Item ID: 45662
Depositing User: Bart Rienties
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2016 16:03
Last Modified: 02 May 2019 09:23
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