Designing hybrid learning configurations at the interface between school and workplace

Research output: Ph.D. ThesisPhD Research external, graduation external

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In today’s knowledge society there is a demand for professionals who are able to create knowledge across boundaries of disciplines, professions and perspectives. Increasingly, challenges have to be addressed by experts from different fields who collaborate across different contexts. In addition, given the fast pace with which society changes, experts must continually construct and reconstruct their expertise in a process of lifelong learning. Institutions for higher and vocational education are challenged to educate these ‘knowledge workers’. They are responding, among others, by developing novel hybrid practices at the interface between school and workplace, the so-called hybrid learning configurations. By connecting education, research and professional practice they aim to address complex problems in society by fostering interprofessional collaboration and learning. We define a hybrid learning configuration (HLC) as ‘a social practice around illdefined, authentic tasks or issues whose resolution requires transboundary learning by transcending disciplines, traditional structures and sectors, and forms of learning’. While many educational institutions and other organizations are co-developing and experimenting with HLCs, the process followed is often one of trial and error. Practical expertise is becoming available but only in an ad hoc and fragmented way. Although research on situated and social learning offers relevant theories and concepts that are useful when designing an HLC, not much research has addressed the design of HLCs in a comprehensive way. This PhD research aims to address this lacuna. We investigate HLCs from an educational design research (EDR) perspective, which involves framing the HLC as a complex intervention. We are interested not only in the features or designed elements of such interventions, but also in the underlying principles or conjectures that are embodied in those features. In addition, we intend to provide support for interprofessional HLC design teams, which consist of, for instance, educational consultants, researchers, lecturers and other practitioners. In order to address these aims we studied six HLCs in the context of Dutch higher vocational education. One of the cases is a joint project of two Dutch institutions for senior secondary vocational educational (which are called ‘MBO’ in Dutch) and two universities of applied sciences (‘HBO’ in Dutch) in collaboration with two companies. The other cases are HLCs in different settings within the context of a university of applied sciences in the Netherlands.
Translated title of the contributionHet ontwerpen van hybride leeromgevingen op het grensvlak tussen opleiding en beroepspraktijk
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University & Research
  • Mulder, M., Supervisor, External person
  • Wals, A.E.J., Supervisor, External person
  • Wesselink, R., Supervisor, External person
Award date10 Feb 2016
Place of PublicationWageningen
Print ISBNs987-94-6257-632-2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • hybrid learning configurations
  • living labs
  • boundary crossing
  • self-directed learning
  • design principles
  • educational design research
  • higher education


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