Multidisciplinary approach to education is studying a topic/concept from the viewpoint of more than one discipline and solving issues using various disciplinary approaches. Real world situations are much more complex and require knowledge of several different subjects to clearly understand them. Multidisciplinary approach to education will also encourage the students to apply their existing and newly acquired knowledge in a more practical and hands-on way. It also encourages the students to inculcate in them the habit of researching, which gives way to a much more creative mind. Many colleges and universities offer multidisciplinary studies programme for students who want to design a major that suits their particular educational and career needs. There are many multidisciplinary studies degree programs and several job options suited to graduates.
John Dewey popularized the concept /philosophy of pragmatism, this has lead teachers being worried about teaching the “whole child”. From time-to-time even the best of best teachers might feel a student is responding minimally to their teaching efforts or the pupil has a problem. When a child has learning problems counsellors are not often consulted, in turn the teachers starts to feel the pupil is retarded or her/his competence as a teacher has been challenged. The only answer to this problem is multidisciplinary education whose foundation is based on the core proposition that students can create their own understanding and knowledge of the world by integrating new experiences with alternate ideas through theoretical exploration and practical exposure. It enables students to break away from their usual learning path and to break out of the silos of knowledge, absorption and creation. To encourage a new and a better way of learning, educational institutions must provide the necessary facilities and platforms for students to learn subjects beyond their normal study classes. Class projects/assignments could involve students and teachers from different disciplines. Teachers and experts from various walks of life should regularly involve in interacting sessions with the students to inculcate the freedom of enquiry and broaden their mind-sets. College campuses need to transformed into tinkering labs of ideas from various domains. Such an environment will encourage the students to work in teams and respect each other’s point of views or opinion. Promoting multidisciplinary approach to education will also help educators and faculty a wide canvas to design innovative and stimulating assignments and projects. For instance a class project could involve students building a mobile-app to monitor and remote control soil-moisture levels. Such multidisciplinary projects would help students from different faculties to work in mutually supportive teams. Students are likely to engage themselves more in the work if they are free to combine subjects of their choice. Learning can acquire greater meaning and the experience is likely to remain embedded with the students for a lifetime. Students learn to consolidate knowledge after synthesising ideas from different perspectives. This develops their critical thinking, problem solving and research capabilities and pushes them to think beyond boundaries. For example if a particular industry experiences downturn or disruption, engineer with a degree in multidisciplinary study will be better equipped to switch to sunrise industries. This approach to education will also nudge students towards undertaking entrepreneurial ventures. This multidisciplinary knowledge will strength the cognitive capabilities of students. It helps them cross mental boarders, respect other people’s point of view and communicate their ideas to people of their domain. Multidisciplinary education is very important as it develops critical thinking skills that students use to look across disciplinary boundaries to consider other viewpoints and also begin to compare and contrast concepts across subject areas. Choosing which subject to study and why to study that will be very challenging and requires students to think carefully about how to identify their choice of subject and prioritise it. Adaptability is one of the most important features of multidisciplinary education because different subjects may need to be viewed through different lenses which mean an individual needs to be able to switch to the appropriate lens at the appropriate time for whichever subjects they are looking at.
Colleges and universities must help students build their own multidisciplinary approach to learning and developing these important skills will enable students to study in a way that suits their own style of learning, motivations for study and personal interests. Having a portfolio of different subjects within the students degree profile can therefore be marketed to employers in a very positive light and help the students stand out against other applicants. The overarching goals of undergraduate education are to engender in students the capacity to think deeply, analyse the situation and problem solving, with multidisciplinary education students will find it easy in putting their creative ideas forward.