Cross-Boundary Collaboration and Problem-Solving to Promote 21st Century Skills— Students’ Experiences


  • Hanna Vuojärvi
  • Miikka Eriksson
  • Henriikka Vartiainen


21st century skills; design-based research; higher education; pedagogical development; cross-boundary teams


This study is part of an ongoing design-based research initiative, during which a new course on forest bioeconomics was designed and implemented in higher education context. The pedagogy of the new course was informed by the framework of 21st century skills, ideas of collaborative problem-solving and knowledge building, cross-boundary teaming, and online and blended learning. During the implementation of the pilot course, in-depth group interview data were collected and WhatsApp discussion threads were used as supplementary data. Participants included students (n=18) from Finnish universities and universities of applied sciences who enrolled in and completed the course. The data were analyzed qualitatively with the aim of finding out how 21st century skills were manifested in students' experiences of collaborative problem-solving in cross-boundary teams in blended or online learning settings. It was also considered, if there were differences in the experiences of students from blended and online course options. The results of the qualitative analysis provide multiple implications for course development in upcoming design-based research cycles.


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