What is IDL?

“The student who can begin in early life to think of things as connected…..has begun the life of learning”. Mark van Doren (poet, writer, critic) 1943.

Interdisciplinary learning (IDL) is a way of thinking and learning in which learners draw on knowledge, understanding and skills from two or more subjects in order to solve a problem or advance our understanding of a concept or idea that extends beyond the scope of any one subject. IDL enables the transfer and application of subject knowledge and language to other areas of learning and to new problems. It is not a substitute for subject-based learning – on the contrary, disciplinary and interdisciplinary learning are complementary and interlinked. IDL cannot exist separately from disciplines but is founded on strong disciplinary knowledge, understanding and skills. It should complement and enrich subject learning, facilitate learning across subject boundaries, and enable students to use their learning beyond the situation in which the learning occurred.

Featured image: Whitelee Wind Farm, nr Glasgow. CC BY-3.0 Author: BJ Mullan

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