The aim of this paper is to introduce the concept of liminality as a theoretical lens to explore and discuss how challenges, accompanied by frustrations and confusion, can enable significant learning in a teamwork setting. Student team narratives on how they handle challenges they face working to solve real-world problems are used as the basis for the discussion.
This is a case study using student narratives from an interdisciplinary master course at a Norwegian university.
We argue that the concept of liminality can support teachers and student teams to understand and handle challenges in ways that enable significant learning and innovation. Practical implications for teachers and facilitators are provided at the end of the paper.
This paper offers new lenses to understand the team- and learning processes in courses where students work with real-world problems. If the teams are able to stay open in the liminality phase it enables significant learning and innovation. This capacity is valuable in a time where teams face complexity and uncertainty is becoming more of a standard than an exception, both in higher education and in working life.
We greatly acknowledge valuable discussions with Professor Roger Sørheim and Marte Konstad.
Brandshaug, S.W. and Sjølie, E. (2021), "In liminality: interdisciplinary teams learning through challenges", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 406-419. https://doi.org/10.1108/HESWBL-10-2019-0137
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