Research Topic

Transdisciplinary Research on Learning and Teaching: Chances and Challenges

About this Research Topic

Research aimed at understanding the processes of learning and teaching in schools may focus on very different aspects and levels of abstraction, depending on the discipline in which the research is being performed; For example, educational researchers are interested in understanding how teachers learn to ...

Research aimed at understanding the processes of learning and teaching in schools may focus on very different aspects and levels of abstraction, depending on the discipline in which the research is being performed; For example, educational researchers are interested in understanding how teachers learn to plan, conduct and reflect upon their teaching, and the role situational factors, such as the layout of a classroom, or even more abstract factors, e.g. a country’s education budget, may play in effective learning. On the other hand, researchers from the learning sciences are more interested in analyzing how students learn in differently designed learning environments and how effective learning environments can be conceived for different contexts. Psychologists are typically investigating the cognitive or motivational processes underlying the way interests develop under different conditions. Further, brain scientists are becoming increasingly interested in the contextual influences on basic learning mechanisms. Sociologists or Economists may be more oriented towards understanding the societal and economic impacts of different schooling systems and novel progresses in the teaching field.

This divergence in foci aligns with the different phenomena and research methods that contribute to the idiosyncratic interests of different research disciplines. All of these disciplines successfully investigate their part of the phenomenon using the set of what they believe are reliable research methods. However, they generally publish in disciplinary journals related to their field only, leading to a lack of global awareness of what is done across the other disciplines.

An increasing number of initiatives were adopted in recent years, to leave the silos of the discipline and engage in multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research investigating the phenomena of learning and teaching. However, the findings of these projects still tend to be published in specialized journals that, again, only highlight the aspects considered relevant to the respective field of research.

The goal of the present Research Topic is to provide a forum, in which large transdisciplinary research groups, investigating teaching from multiple perspectives, can present and discuss the chances and challenges of such endeavors at a higher level. Rather than isolating specific findings, the contributions to this Research Topic should aim to highlight the specific value of their collaborations and demonstrate how the inter- or trans-disciplinary research can benefit multiple fields.

The contributions should also elaborate on the challenges, costs and side effects of inter- or transdisciplinary collaborations in research on learning and teaching. In that, we expect conceptual submissions. This Research Topics also aims to encourage methodological and empirical contributions, although we are not (yet) aware of systematic methodological developments or empirical research investigating research collaborations on learning and teaching.

We are certain that the described Research Topic will be of great interest to researchers of multiple fields as well as to practitioners and stakeholders in the educational sector and that it has the potential to instigate and shape new exciting collaborations.


Keywords: Education, Transdisciplinary, Interdisciplinary, Collaboration, Teacher, Teaching, Learning


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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