Gone are the days when students could specialize in one area and expect to be successful in their careers. Today's job market now requires a diverse set of skills and knowledge. Unfortunately, many students aren't receiving the education needed to fill the ever-widening skills gap. In fact, 46% of learning and development leaders say the skills gap is widening at their organizations this year – up four points from 2021 data.
So, how can we move toward filling the workforce skills gap?
One solution is incorporating career and technical education (CTE) programs with an interdisciplinary learning approach.
What Is Interdisciplinary Learning?
Interdisciplinary learning is an approach that combines two or more academic disciplines or fields of study to provide a comprehensive understanding of a complex topic. It encourages students to think critically and creatively by drawing on different perspectives, skills, and knowledge from multiple disciplines. By integrating diverse ideas and approaches, interdisciplinary learning can help students develop a more holistic understanding of the world and better prepare them for solving complex real-world problems.
Interdisciplinary Learning in CTE
Interdisciplinary learning can be a valuable tool for students pursuing CTE paths. By combining multiple subjects, students can:
- Gain a deeper understanding of their chosen field and develop a wider range of skills.
For example, students studying automotive technology might also take a course in physics to better understand the principles behind the vehicles they work on. Or, a culinary arts student could benefit from learning about business and marketing to better understand how to run a successful restaurant.
- Develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
These skills are valuable in any career! By approaching problems from multiple angles and utilizing knowledge from different areas, students can find innovative solutions to complex issues.
Interdisciplinary learning in CTE can also help address the skills gap in the workforce. As technology continues to advance, there is a growing demand for workers who possess both technical skills and a solid understanding of other areas such as business, marketing, and communication. By integrating this type of learning into CTE programs, students are better equipped to meet the demands of the modern workforce and employers are more likely to find qualified candidates.
Furniture To Support Interdisciplinary Learning
Furniture can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of interdisciplinary learning. When selecting furniture, consider these factors:
- Practicality: Furniture should be easy to move and store, as cumbersome pieces can hinder the learning process and limit classroom activity possibilities. At Diversified Spaces, we offer a range of mobile furniture options to help support this learning approach.
- Flexible options: Each student also has their own unique learning style, and furniture can be used to accommodate these preferences. Some students prefer independent work, while others thrive in group settings. Flexible furniture options can help create a space that caters to all student needs. For example, our Hi-Low Electric Table and Hi-Low Hand Crank Table provide students with the option to sit or stand while they learn.
- Storage: Interdisciplinary learning environments sometimes need storage options to help students and faculty organize and access materials across different fields or disciplines. Our Forum 48" Tool Cabinet is a great option for this – store tools, supplies, spare parts and more! If this option doesn't work for you, don't worry! We have so many storage options to meet your needs.
- Technology: Incorporating technology-friendly furniture, like desks with built-in outlets or charging ports, allows educators to seamlessly integrate technology into the learning experience. This fosters a more efficient and effective learning environment.
Ready To Create an Interdisciplinary Learning Environment?
Interdisciplinary learning in CTE is a valuable approach that prepares students for success in today's diverse and complex world. By integrating multiple disciplines, students can develop a range of skills and knowledge that are essential for their future careers. If you're ready to create an interdisciplinary learning environment for your CTE program, reach out today to get started.