Research of Dr Carla Oonk on Boundary Crossing now published

On November 9, 2021, I posted that research of Dr Carla Oonk on Boundary Crossing was accepted for publication, and that I would share the summary of the paper. The publication in the International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education is now published, so I can indeed share the Abstract. Congratulations Carla Oonk and co-authors Judith Gulikers and Perry den Brok with this important publication. It shows that carefully designed educational interventions can contribute to boundary crossing competence, which is essential in current hybrid multi-stakeholder working situations.


‘Sustainable development requires multiple stakeholders to work and learn across practices, in other words, it requires boundary crossing competence. To prepare students for their future sustainability professions, higher education should facilitate the development of boundary crossing competence in its curricula. This study aims to confirm whether boundary crossing learning can be stimulated by workshop-based support in multi-stakeholder projects.

This quasi-experimental intervention study (N = 122) investigates the effect of a series of supporting workshops on students’ boundary crossing learning in multi-stakeholder projects. The workshops allowed students to adopt four learning mechanisms (identification, coordination, reflection and transformation) theorised to stimulate learning across boundaries between practices. Students followed zero, one, or two workshops. By analysing the student learning reports, the study examines the effect of the workshop intervention on students’ self-efficacy for stakeholder collaboration, the number of reported student-stakeholder collaborative activities and the reported boundary crossing learning mechanisms.

The results show that a series of two workshops increases the number of reported collaborative activities and activates the students’ boundary crossing learning in terms of reflection and transformation.

These findings support the evidence-based design of multi-stakeholder learning environments for sustainable development and contribute to the body of knowledge regarding learning across practices.

Boundary crossing competence receives increasing attention as an asset for sustainable development. The added value of this study lies in its confirmation that the boundary crossing theory can be translated into directed educational support that can stimulate students’ boundary crossing learning’.]

Full reference:

Oonk, C., Gulikers, J., Den Brok, P., & Mulder, M. (2022). ‘Stimulating Boundary Crossing Learning in a Multi-Stakeholder Learning Environment for Sustainable Development. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 23(8), 21-40.

Download Pdf here: 2022 Oonk et al – Stimulating Boundary Crossing Learning