Research Papers

Document Type

Conference Paper


In today’s rapidly changing and increasingly interconnected world, engineering educators are required to implement active pedagogical approaches to support students’ interdisciplinary problem-solving processes. However, interdisciplinary and experiential learning may evoke situations where students question their past learnings and even existing values, beliefs, or assumptions. Our study examined the emergence of “disorienting dilemmas”, a central concept to transformative learning theory, and students’ experiences in coping with them in engineering education. We interviewed ten students from two interdisciplinary project courses at School of Engineering in Aalto University, Finland, and conducted thematic analysis to identify the types of disorienting dilemmas and the coping strategies that students employed. Our study found that students experienced disorienting dilemmas related to self beliefs, approaches to real-world challenges, teamwork, and disciplinary differences. To cope with these dilemmas, we identified four key strategies that reflected different levels of cognitive-behavioral responses: withdrawing, investigating, negotiating, and integrating.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.