Transdisciplinary design of virtual learning environments: The case of a xMOOC on the study of Electrical Energy Academic Article in Scopus uri icon


  • © 2017 Association for Computing Machinery.The man objective of transdisciplinarity1 is the quest for the unity of knowledge through the elimination of disciplinary boundaries. Implementing transdisciplinarity implies the creation of a common conceptual, theoretical and empirical structure among disciplines, therefore, its execution processes often offer interesting opportunities in educational research. This case study seeks to investigate the experience of a group of professionals from different disciplines who participated in the design of a xMOOC entitled "Electrical Energy: Concepts and Basic Principles", which is part of the Bi-National Laboratory on Smart Sustainable Energy Management and Technology Training, project financed by CONACYT-SENER's energy sustainability fund. This paper explores the challenges faced by team members to achieve the objectives of course design, investigating personal characteristics that determine the tendency of solutions or problems in the development of the course, and exploring the implications of their participation in further teaching and research practices. Using a variety of methods, including semi-structured interviews, recorded conversations (dialogue in interaction), field journals-Participant Observation and the analysis of official documents, it was found that the consequence of the joint work of multiple disciplines in a related project causes the absence of individualism, generating opportunities for revision, reflection and intellectual discussions that enrich both the contents and the learning environment. In this type of projects, sharing information was not the essence of collaboration, but the common understanding that evolves through dialogue, discussion, tolerance and consensus building. Although working in a transdisciplinary manner involved hard work when there was no clarity or hierarchy in the roles, when there were differences in terminology and domain models, or communication flaws, this type of projects produced synergistic effects which steered more efficient educational processes and products, fostering mutual support and leading to the transformation and improvement of teaching and research practices.

Publication date

  • October 18, 2017