Lia Fluit
Lia Fluit

Column Lia Fluit: Learning across your own boundaries

Last week, we had a meeting with all Teaching and Learning Centres in the Netherlands. There was representation from all universities, and we talked about topics that concern all of us. The agenda included the digitalisation agenda of education and stimulating educational research and the investigative attitude of the lecturer.

Jan Bransen kicked off with some provocative questions about what everyone thinks a TLC is or should be, and how we are organised (or should be organised). We share a name and passion for education, but there are many differences in how we are organised, our positions at the university, what we do or don't do, etc. This was very instructive for everyone present, because it again broadens your view on what we are (or can be) as TLC. An important outcome of this meeting was that we want to know and learn more from each other about how you can yourselves organise as TLC. We continue to learn! 

It once again showed how important it is to learn across your own boundaries. It gives you new ideas, creates new or different perspectives, makes you critically reflect on what you are doing, and strengthens your belief in things you find worthwhile. Our initiative to launch Special Interest Groups (SIGs) turned out to be an inspiration to others, for example. In a SIG, you learn from and with each other, and learning across personal boundaries remains crucial. We have a few active SIGs already, such as one on assessment, gamification, eXtended Reality, educational research, and of course one on interdisciplinary education.

And there are new SIGs ready to kick off. Next year a SIG on safely learning and working will launch, for example. In a SIG, lecturers, education experts, and students work together on complex educational issues, for which there isn't always a ready-made solution yet. You can pitch your ideas, discuss issues you run into, talk about things you might want to try out, but you don't know how yet, or explore topics you want to learn more about. As a professor in workplace learning, I look at SIGs as a great way of learning and working for all sorts of professionals. That includes students as novice professionals! 

In her lectoral speech on 6 October, Wietske Kuijer-Siebelink described new forms of workplace learning that are necessary to strengthen and innovate the education we offer. She indicates that working on complex issues requires cooperation across professional boundaries. But she also notes that cooperation (and learning to cooperate) is complex for professionals. We offer our students interdisciplinary education so they can develop themselves in this.

But for lecturers and education professionals, this cross-border cooperation is not always a competence that you've mastered once you're a professional. You can also learn and develop this. That is why she argues for support and training for education professionals. I think we would also do well to look at what we already have in place to further develop this borderless (and boundless) cooperation. I already mentioned one example, the TLC's SIGs. So, if you want to learn across borders, start a SIG! 

Read more about SIG's

Contact information

Lia Fluit is professor Person centered and innovative learning and working in healthcare. She is a researcherat the Radboudumc Health Academy.

She is also a facilitator 'Educational research' within the Radboud Teaching and Learning Center.

Email: Lia.fluit [at] (Lia[dot]fluit[at]radboudumc[dot]nl)