Transdisciplinary experiential learning in biomedical engineering education for healthcare systems improvement

Luis Montesinos*, David Ernesto Salinas-Navarro*, Alejandro Santos-Diaz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The growing demand for more efficient, timely, and safer health services, together with insufficient resources, put unprecedented pressure on health systems worldwide. This challenge has motivated the application of principles and tools of operations management and lean systems to healthcare processes to maximize value while reducing waste. Consequently, there is an increasing need for professionals with the appropriate clinical experience and skills in systems and process engineering. Given their multidisciplinary education and training, biomedical engineering professionals are likely among the most suitable to assume this role. In this context, biomedical engineering education must prepare students for a transdisciplinary professional role by including concepts, methods, and tools that commonly belong to industrial engineering. This work aims to create relevant learning experiences for biomedical engineering education to expand transdisciplinary knowledge and skills in students to improve and optimize hospital and healthcare care processes. Methods: Healthcare processes were translated into specific learning experiences using the Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation (ADDIE) model. This model allowed us to systematically identify the context where learning experiences were expected to occur, the new concepts and skills to be developed through these experiences, the stages of the student’s learning journey, the resources required to implement the learning experiences, and the assessment and evaluation methods. The learning journey was structured around Kolb’s experiential learning cycle, which considers four stages: concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation. Data on the student’s learning and experience were collected through formative and summative assessments and a student opinion survey. Results: The proposed learning experiences were implemented in a 16-week elective course on hospital management for last-year biomedical engineering undergraduate students. Students engaged in analyzing and redesigning healthcare operations for improvement and optimization. Namely, students observed a relevant healthcare process, identified a problem, and defined an improvement and deployment plan. These activities were carried out using tools drawn from industrial engineering, which expanded their traditional professional role. The fieldwork occurred in two large hospitals and a university medical service in Mexico. A transdisciplinary teaching team designed and implemented these learning experiences. Conclusions: This teaching-learning experience benefited students and faculty concerning public participation, transdisciplinarity, and situated learning. However, the time devoted to the proposed learning experience represented a challenge.
Original languageEnglish
Article number207
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © The Author(s) 2023. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

Funding Information:
This research was funded by NOVUS, Institute for the Future of Education, Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico, grant number N13-050. The APC was funded by the Writing Lab, Institute for the Future of Education, Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico.


  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Engineering education
  • transdisciplinary learning
  • Experiential Learning
  • Healthcare Management Engineering
  • Lean Healthcare
  • Higher Education
  • Educational Innovation


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