A case study in developing an interdisciplinary learning experiment between architecture, building construction, and construction engineering and management education Academic Article uri icon


  • Purpose The purpose of this paper is to highlight the value of interdisciplinary learning specifically in the architecture (ARCH), building construction (BC) and construction management and engineering (CEM) disciplines within the USAs higher education system. The study attempts to expand the existing literature on integrated design and construction education and offer an alternative model for academic students collaboration when restructuring curriculums is not possible in the short term. Design/methodology/approach The study adopted a qualitative research methodology, which involved designing a structured learning experiment, then followed it with collecting the lived experience of 31 participants from three majors according to the institutions institution review board (IRB) offices guidelines. The author hypothesized that students from different, but related disciplines working on a real-life project, would better understand the value of each others knowledge brought to the teamwork before graduation. The data were analyzed and compared to existing literature on integrated project delivery, and collaborative learning models. Data collection (surveys) was approved by the higher educations IRB No. 13-021. Findings Despite the already-existing curriculum obstacles, the majority of students were very pleased with this collaborative experiment. The results confirmed many of the expectations about how students viewed each others discipline. The preconceived notions were dissipated at the end of the study, and students expressed more appreciation for each others field and expressed interest in learning more about the thought processes of other disciplines. Research limitations/implications Typical conflicting academic schedules were the greatest obstacle in this experiment. Architecture students often devote majority of their time to design studios and therefore are unable to fully engage in an integrated capstone project like this one as extracurricular. Because of the chosen research approach, the research results may lack generalizability. Therefore, researchers are encouraged to test the proposed propositions further. Practical implications It is possible to develop a successful collaborative experience in the architecture, engineering and construction higher education system without major restructuring of the curriculums. The impact on students learning experience is greater than the existing separated education model. Originality/value This paper fulfills an identified need to study how integrated design and construction education occurs without creating new dedicated programs or coursework.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Ali, A. K.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Ali, Ahmed K

publication date

  • September 2019