Does Interdisciplinarity Promote Learning? Theoretical Support and Researchable Questions

Despite widespread support for interdisciplinary curricula, there is little evidence that such courses are particularly efficacious or that they are superior to disciplinary courses in promoting student learning. To understand how and why interdisciplinary courses might promote specific learning outcomes, the authors apply cognitive and learning theories in an analysis of two undergraduate interdisciplinary courses. This exploration of theoretical warrants for interdisciplinarity leads to a proposed research agenda on interdisciplinary curricula, teaching, and learning.