Transdisciplinary Learning

Summary of Transdisciplinary Learning

Transdisciplinary learning is the exploration of a relevant concept, issue or problem that integrates the perspectives of multiple disciplines in order to connect new knowledge and deeper understanding to real life experiences.

Best practices in a transdisciplinary environment do not compartmentalize learning, but rather explore content within the context of inquiry.

Transdisciplinary learning requires that all teachers are involved and collaborate.

It is important to note that a major purpose of transdisciplinary learning is to understand the world around us, and that learning should be contextualized in and applied to real-life, far beyond the traditional notion of "school". Further quotes from "Learning and Teaching" include: "It has relevance across the subjects and transcends the confines of the subjects to connect to the real world" and “transdisciplinarity is... distinct from multidisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity because of its goal, the understanding of the present world." This approach is not exclusive to the PYP. Much of what children do naturally is transdisciplinary as they play, build, invent, create, question, design and explore to make sense of the people, places, things and events in their lives.

Source: Magellan International School | PYP in Practice |

Multi-, Inter-, Trans- Disciplinary Starting Definitions


  • Multidisciplinary approaches, where the disciplines remain intact but focus simultaneously on a common theme,

  • Interdisciplinary approaches where there is conjoining of the disciplines to develop a shared understanding of a theme or solution to a problem,

  • Transdisciplinary approaches where disciplinary distinctions are not evident


  • Multidisciplinary: Curriculum revolves around themes or problems that bring together a number of disciplines

  • Interdisciplinary: Curriculum revolves around themes or problems where the focus is on commonalities between disciplines

  • Transdisciplinary: Curriculum revolves around real-world experiences, without regard for discipline-specific understandings

Source: University of British Columbia

Multi-, Inter-, Trans Disciplinary Examples

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Source: The Lore Blog

Hierarchy of Disciplines

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Source: Blog - Jo Bailey

Types of Learning

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Source: Total Communication

Transdisciplinary Learning - PYP

Run Time: 1:00 - May 18, 2019

Transdisciplinary Learning - PYP

Run Time: 2:24 - Feb 16, 2020

PYP Transdisciplinary Themes

Working together, the transdisciplinary themes and the transdisciplinary approach promote learning as outlined below:

Transdisciplinary Themes

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Source: Cindy Blackburn -

Transdisciplinary Themes

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Source: Managebac

Podcast: Interview Carolina Gianetto About Transdisciplinary Learning

Angeline Aow interviews Carolina Gianetto about transdisciplinary learning. Carolina has been a PYP educator since 2000 as a starting homeroom teacher in Brazil. Since then she has worked in international PYP schools in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Moscow, Russia where she has been a teacher, PYP coordinator, Assistant Principal and is now the Head of EYs and Primary at St. Francis College in Sao Paulo. Carolina has been a PYP workshop leader and site visitor for over 10 years as she worked in IB Americas and in Europe and the Middle East. You can follow Carolina on Twitter, or visit her website here.
Podcast - Transdisciplinary.mp3
Created by RACHEL FRENCH FRENCHSource: Professional Learning International - 52:43 - Oct 25, 2018

Articles About Transdisciplinary

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