Team Learning in Cross-Functional Teams' in Vocational Education













Team Learning in Cross-Functional Teams

Team Learning in Cross-Functional Teams' in Vocational Education


2014 to 2016


Educational leader of 4 educational teams spread across 3 different training locations


The project aims to achieve good teaching and well-qualified, highly motivated participants by developing and aligning education in team of teacherstaff.

Duties and Responsibilities

Lead interdisciplinary teaching teams consisting of 47 professionals from education and industry, and involve 850 students in shaping the programme.

Core Values in Practice

All team members were encouraged to share their ideas and opinions, which ensured fair and balanced decision-making. This was applied, for example, when designing new teaching modules, where input from both teachers and students was valued. Teachers and students were encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning. An example of this is the flexibility within the school where teachers could take leave outside school holidays, and students could choose when and with which teacher they followed their classes. The interdisciplinary collaboration between different experts and the openness and interdependence between teachers fostered a culture of respect and cooperation. This was visible, for example, in the Network School, where teachers learned from each other, reflected on their actions, and trusted each other.

Impact and Results

The project led to an improvement in professional practice training (BPV), or internship supervision, and Focus on Skills. Unique to this project was the integration of education in living labs and skills labs. These innovative learning environments allowed students to experiment and develop skills in a realistic and controlled setting. It allowed teachers to work more closely with industry professionals, leading to an enrichment of the curriculum. The collaboration between education and industry in the labs has had a positive impact on the development of both students and teachers and industry staff. It has strengthened the bridge between theory and practice and contributed to the delivery of good education. This approach has had a positive impact on 850 students and the wider community, including the businesses and organisations involved.

Learning moments

Interdisciplinary Learning: The collaboration between teachers and professionals from the field led to a rich exchange of knowledge and skills. This interdisciplinary approach allowed students to benefit from both academic expertise and practical insights from industry. Some concrete examples of this learning include:

Living Labs: The creation of realistic learning environments where students, teachers and professionals worked together on innovative projects. This promoted deeper understanding of theoretical concepts through direct application in practice.

Skills-Labs: Developing specific skills through hands-on training and guidance from experts in the field. This enabled students to directly apply and refine their body of knowledge and competences.

Guiding Principles for High Performing Teams: Several guiding principles contributed to the success of the interdisciplinary teaching teams:

Shared Vision: A clear and shared vision for education and innovation created a strong sense of purpose and cohesion within the teams.

Open Communication: A culture of openness and honesty fostered trust and cooperation among team members from different backgrounds.

Flexibility and Adaptability: A willingness to experiment and adapt to new insights and challenges enabled teams to learn and grow continuously.

Interdependence: Recognising the unique contributions of each team member and the need to work together strengthened interdependence and fostered a culture of respect and collaboration.


Leadership, collaboration, educational development, and interdisciplinary coordination.


Project website: Team learning in MBO

Interdisciplinary research team: Prof. Mulder, M.; Dr. Wesselink, R.; Dr. Runhaar, P.; Dr. Bouwmans, M.; Dr. Zoethout, H.; Prof. Dr. Poell, R.; Prof. Woerkom, M. van; Dr. Kunst, E.; Griethuijsen, R. van