Studying and Supporting Productive Disciplinary Engagement in Demanding STEM Learning

This early-concept project seeks to build a partnership between two U.S. universities that are currently creating learning environments to support engaged learning in STEM disciplines. This effort will allow researchers from these institutions to develop a collaboration with Finnish researchers at Turku University.
All three groups have developed innovative learning systems where students take the role of practicing professionals (e.g., as an environmental scientist or a semiconductor pr! ocess engineer) where they are encouraged to use the “language” and “practices” of the discipline to “get somewhere” (develop a product, improve a process, gain a better understanding of a phenomenon) over time.
The collaborative partnership will allow the research team to better understand the nature of engagement in such complex STEM learning environments and to use the understanding to develop methods for creating more effective authentic learning systems that function across many settings and contexts. The contexts also represent cases where students are at risk and might leave paths into STEM careers. The collaboration will yield important insights into increasing the participation and retention of students in the STEM fields.