ILC Teaching Resources

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) defines Integrative Learning as an understanding and a disposition that a student builds across the curriculum and co-curriculum, from making simple connections among ideas and experiences to synthesizing and transferring learning to new, complex situations within and beyond the campus. As Huber and Hutchings (2004) note, " Integrative learning also has emotional appeal. Indeed, emotion can be a catalyst for integrative learning. When students become passionate about their learning, when a topic ignites enthusiasm, integration is more likely to happen. (Integrative Learning: Mapping the Terrain).

Dimensions of Integrative Learning

  • Connects relevant experience and academic knowledge;
  • Makes connections across disciplines and across perspectives;
  • Adapts and applies skills, abilities, theories, or methodologies gained in one situation to new situations;
  • Integrates modes of communication in ways that enhance meaning; and
  • Demonstrates a developing sense of self as a learner, building on prior experiences to respond to new and challenging contexts (self-assessment, reflective or creative work).

Students will do the integrating; faculty will need to create the opportunities. KEY: Create assignments that allow students to be reflective of their learning. By doing so you have provided the opportunity to the student to integrate their learning and thus students will extend their integrative abilities into challenges of personal, professional, and civic life.

Example Opportunities

  • Composition papers that focus on topics from biology, economics, or history;
  • Mathematics assignments that apply mathematical tools to important issues and require written analysis to explain the implications and limitations of the mathematical treatment;
  • Art history presentations that demonstrate aesthetic connections between selected paintings and novels; and 
  • High content knowledge majors such as accounting, engineering, or chemistry can apply integrative constructions by addressing ethical dilemmas and social consciousness

Example Teaching Techniques

Additional Resources

Integrative Learning: Mapping the Terrain (Huber and Hutchings. 2004)

Students Do the Integrating. All we can do is provide the opportunities (Amy Jessen-Marshall, Vice President for Integrative Learning and the Global Commons, AAC&U, 2018)

K. Patricia Cross Academy