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Open AccessArticle

Designing Learning for Sustainable Development: Digital Practices as Boundary Crossers and Predictors of Sustainable Lifestyles

1
Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering, University of Ljubljana, Jamova 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
2
Faculty of Education, University of Primorska, Cankarjeva 5, 6000 Koper, Slovenia
3
College of Information, University of North Texas, 3940 N Elm St, Denton, TX 76207, USA
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Bella Vista d. o. o., Cerej 21, 6280 Ankaran, Slovenia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2030; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062030
Received: 10 May 2018 / Revised: 5 June 2018 / Accepted: 11 June 2018 / Published: 15 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
Sustainable development (SD) is a multidimensional issue. However, research findings report a divide between students’ awareness and behavior. It is identified that study programs are designed more for awareness outcomes, and not so much for behavioral outcomes. For higher-order learning outcomes manifested in a sustainable development behavior, the authors argue for a model based on an understanding of learning as boundary crossing. Based on this model, learning for sustainable development occurs in relating social practices, lifestyles, academic practices, professional practices, and students’ digital practices. To inform teachers’ approaches to teaching as an important driver of institutional change, we conducted a survey among students of urban and spatial planning in Slovenia. Examined factors included personal, academic, and digital predictors for sustainable development awareness, lifestyle, and behavioral intention. We hypothesized that a significant predictor for sustainable development behavior, which was measured as sustainable lifestyle and sustainable development behavioral intention, would be learning in social practices, and that learning in social practices would predict preferred teaching methods. The findings of hierarchical regression analysis indicated personal factors as the most important predictors of SD behavioral intention, and academic predictors as the most important factors for SD awareness. Digital practices were found to be the most important predictors of a sustainable lifestyle. Social practices of sustainable lifestyle, digital practices, and perceived teaching methods predicted students’ preferred teaching methods. We discuss the future directions of sustainable development education, considering digital social media practices as essential boundary crossers. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable development education; behavioral change; sustainable lifestyle; informal and formal learning; online social media sustainable development education; behavioral change; sustainable lifestyle; informal and formal learning; online social media
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MDPI and ACS Style

Istenic Starcic, A.; Terlevic, M.; Lin, L.; Lebenicnik, M. Designing Learning for Sustainable Development: Digital Practices as Boundary Crossers and Predictors of Sustainable Lifestyles. Sustainability 2018, 10, 2030.

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