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Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development II

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Education and Approaches".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 October 2020) | Viewed by 77516

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Mathematics and Science Education, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, G5-126 Campus UAB—Bellaterra, 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain
Interests: education for sustainability; teacher education; ESD competencies; curriculum greening
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Pedagogy, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Campus Sescelades, 43007 Tarragona, Spain
Interests: education for sustainable development (ESD); sustainability; innovative teaching and learning methods; organisational change; sustainable development goals (SDGs)
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Institute of Educational Research, Universitat de Girona, 17004 Girona, Spain
Interests: education for sustainability; higher education; institutional change; professional development; ESD competencies
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is our pleasure to announce that following the success of the first volume (https://www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability/special_issues/Competencies_ESD), we are now hosting Volume II of the Special Issue on Competencies on Education for Sustainable Development published between 2018 and 2019.

The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development clearly reflects the urgency to embed the principles of education for sustainable development (ESD) into all levels of education. Education is explicitly formulated as a stand-alone goal—Sustainable Development Goal 4. Numerous education-related targets and indicators are also contained within other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

ESD aims at developing competencies that empower individuals to reflect on their own actions, taking into account their current and future social, cultural, economic, and environmental impacts, from a local and a global perspective. Individuals as part of society should also be empowered to act in complex situations in a sustainable manner, which may require them to strike out in new directions and to participate in sociopolitical processes, moving their societies towards sustainable development.

ESD has to be understood as an integral part of quality education, inherent in the concept of lifelong learning: all educational institutions—from preschool to higher education and in nonformal and informal education—can and should foster the development of sustainability competencies. ESD is holistic and transformational education that addresses learning content and outcomes, pedagogy and the learning environment. It should create interactive, learner-centered teaching and learning settings. It asks for an action-oriented, transformative pedagogy, which supports self-directed learning, participation and collaboration, problem-orientation, inter- and transdisciplinarity and the linking of formal and informal learning to the development of key sustainability competencies. Further empirical research is needed on the development, assessment tools, and the impact of new policies and programs related to ESD competencies.

This special issue focuses on ESD competencies from preschool to higher education and in non-formal and informal education. Suggested topics include:

  • Integration of ESD competencies in policies, strategies and programmes
  • Innovative pedagogical approaches to ESD competencies
  • Curriculum developments—teaching and learning practices to develop ESD competencies
  • Processes and tools to assess ESD competencies
  • Connecting quality education with ESD competencies development
  • Professional development in ESD (teachers, university staff, non-formal educators, etc.)
  • Inclusion of ESD competencies in teacher education

Dr. Mercè Junyent
Dr. Gisela Cebrián
Dr. Ingrid Mulà
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • ESD competencies
  • Education developments
  • Professional development
  • Competences’ assessment
  • Quality education

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Editorial

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9 pages, 246 KiB  
Editorial
Current Practices and Future Pathways towards Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development
by Gisela Cebrián, Mercè Junyent and Ingrid Mulà
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 8733; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13168733 - 5 Aug 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2932
Abstract
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development reflects the urgency to embed the principles of education for sustainable development (ESD) into all levels of education. ESD, understood as an integral part of quality education and where all educational institutions, from preschool to higher education [...] Read more.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development reflects the urgency to embed the principles of education for sustainable development (ESD) into all levels of education. ESD, understood as an integral part of quality education and where all educational institutions, from preschool to higher education and in non-formal and informal education, can and should foster the development of sustainability competencies. This Special Issue entitled “Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development II” responds to this urgency and the papers presented deliver recent developments in the field of sustainability and ESD competencies. They focus on various perspectives: systematic literature reviews and conceptual contributions; curriculum developments and pedagogical approaches to explore competencies’ development, such as action research, serious games, augmented reality, multi-course project-based learning and group model building processes; testing and validation of assessment tools and processes for linking sustainability competencies to employability and quality assurance processes. The contributions show how the field of sustainability and ESD competencies has become a major focus in recent years and present emerging research developments. Further research efforts need to be put into operationalizing sustainability competencies and developing tools that help measure and assess students’ and educators’ competencies development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development II)

Research

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18 pages, 451 KiB  
Article
Does Emotional Intelligence Influence Academic Performance? The Role of Compassion and Engagement in Education for Sustainable Development
by Marta Estrada, Diego Monferrer, Alma Rodríguez and Miguel Ángel Moliner
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 1721; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041721 - 5 Feb 2021
Cited by 37 | Viewed by 10641
Abstract
Education must guide students’ emotional development, not only to improve their skills and help them achieve their maximum performance, but to establish the foundations of a more cooperative and compassionate society. Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, therefore, implies focusing on emotional aspects as [...] Read more.
Education must guide students’ emotional development, not only to improve their skills and help them achieve their maximum performance, but to establish the foundations of a more cooperative and compassionate society. Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, therefore, implies focusing on emotional aspects as well as financial, social, environmental, and scientific objectives. In this line, the goal of this study is to show how emotional intelligence, which is an essential dimension in the development and management of emotional competences required to build sustainable societies, plays a key role in optimising student’s academic performance in the classroom through compassion and academic commitment. The research model was tested with a questionnaire addressed to 550 students from four higher education institutions and one secondary school. The results of a structural equation analysis confirmed the study hypotheses. Emotional intelligence was shown to be positively related to compassion and higher levels of commitment, which, consequently, led to better academic performance. This finding will encourage interest in developing emotional intelligence, not only for its long-term value in training healthy citizens, but also for its short-term results in the classroom. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development II)
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19 pages, 2275 KiB  
Article
Developing ESD Competences in Higher Education Institutions—Staff Training at the University of Vechta
by Lukas Scherak and Marco Rieckmann
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10336; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410336 - 10 Dec 2020
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 4769
Abstract
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) competences have been widely discussed over the past decade. A number of frameworks have been developed, and the Erasmus+ Project “A Rounder Sense of Purpose” (RSP) set out to establish a profound and practical framework of competences to [...] Read more.
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) competences have been widely discussed over the past decade. A number of frameworks have been developed, and the Erasmus+ Project “A Rounder Sense of Purpose” (RSP) set out to establish a profound and practical framework of competences to be used in any European context to enable in-service and pre-service educators to demonstrate their competence in ESD. Over the course of two years at the University of Vechta, staff training was provided using the RSP competences model as a guiding framework. Data were collected through a focus group and a self-assessment survey in order to answer the research question, “Which competences do university teachers need in order to work with the concept of ESD in higher education and how can these be developed in a series of staff training workshops?” The results show that all 12 RSP competences are indeed relevant for higher education teaching, but the potential for developing them into a staff training programme is limited. There are multiple trigger points and settings that are beneficial to and necessary for the development of ESD competences. If those conditions are not met there is limited opportunity for applying ESD methods within higher education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development II)
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18 pages, 293 KiB  
Article
Assessment of the Quality Education Awareness Competence of Pre-Service Educators Using Vignettes
by Ana-Inés Renta-Davids, Marta Camarero-Figuerola and Juana-María Tierno-García
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10203; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310203 - 7 Dec 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2556
Abstract
For decades, higher education institutions have been incorporating sustainability principles. Spanish universities have considered it important that sustainability principles are integrated into the university curriculum, in order to contribute to the education of socially-responsible professionals. The present research aims to estimate pre-service educators’ [...] Read more.
For decades, higher education institutions have been incorporating sustainability principles. Spanish universities have considered it important that sustainability principles are integrated into the university curriculum, in order to contribute to the education of socially-responsible professionals. The present research aims to estimate pre-service educators’ awareness of selected challenges posed by Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4), and it identifies the learning experiences that contribute the most to these students’ awareness of quality education. Moreover, the study aims to explore the potential of the use of the vignettes approach for the evaluation of students’ awareness. The study drew on a sample of n = 202 first year students pursuing education-related degrees at a Spanish university. The data was collected using a vignette survey, and the data analysis was conducted using quantitative and qualitative techniques. The results show a high degree of awareness within the context of most of the challenges posed by SDG 4 and, in the search for the factors that contributed to the degree of awareness in the students, personal interests and classes taken at the university stand out. In addition, the study provides the methodological implications of the use of the vignette approach in the assessment of students’ awareness. This paper discusses the practical implications for universities of the integration of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) competences into the curriculum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development II)
21 pages, 1745 KiB  
Article
Augmented Reality (AR)-Based Intervention to Enhance Awareness of Fine Dust in Sustainable Environments
by Jung Rim Huh, In-Jo Park, Young Sunwoo, Hyo Jeong Choi and Kon Joon Bhang
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 9874; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12239874 - 25 Nov 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2743
Abstract
Education on fine dust is a challenging field, as it must explain abstract phenomena and accompany the demands for behavioral changes. This research studied whether the adoption of augmented reality (AR) technology can effect change in student perspectives with a view to improving [...] Read more.
Education on fine dust is a challenging field, as it must explain abstract phenomena and accompany the demands for behavioral changes. This research studied whether the adoption of augmented reality (AR) technology can effect change in student perspectives with a view to improving the attitudes of passive students regarding fine dust-related matters. With regard to student awareness, 94.0% of students responded that the issue of fine dust in Korea is severe; the higher the degree of interest they had in fine dust, the more severe they perceived the issue to be. On the perceived severity of fine dust in schools, 47.8% viewed it as severe; again, the level differed by the degree of interest. Students (80%) who received a traditional education on fine dust expressed dissatisfaction. The effect of using AR in experiential learning in fine dust environmental education has shown enhanced results compared to before receiving the education, notably in the group with a low degree of interest in fine dust and the group without prior experience in fine dust environmental education. Likewise, in the satisfaction rate for AR-based education on fine dust, 72.5% of participants responded that they had enjoyed the class, 75.9% showed active participation, and 80.0% felt that the content of the education was useful. Considering that the objective of fine dust environmental education is not based on understanding a theory but on maintaining individual health through practice in real life, the use of AR in fine dust environmental education as applied in this study may be interpreted as having a certain level of effect. Additionally, our results demonstrate that the use of AR in classes is effective in arousing students’ interest and inducing participation for better engagement in learning activities, which is, consequently, effective in enhancing the understanding of learning materials by students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development II)
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25 pages, 1575 KiB  
Article
A Framework of Global Competence for Engineers: The Need for a Sustainable World
by Isabel Ortiz-Marcos, Valeria Breuker, Rocío Rodríguez-Rivero, Björn Kjellgren, Frédéric Dorel, Marco Toffolon, Diego Uribe and Virna Eccli
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9568; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229568 - 17 Nov 2020
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 5708
Abstract
This paper presents the results of the first part of the Tools for Enhancing and Assessing the Value of International Experience for Engineers (TA VIE) project, launched in 2018, and outlines a contemporary understanding of global competence for engineers, as understood by European [...] Read more.
This paper presents the results of the first part of the Tools for Enhancing and Assessing the Value of International Experience for Engineers (TA VIE) project, launched in 2018, and outlines a contemporary understanding of global competence for engineers, as understood by European engineering companies. Striving to make engineering education more comprehensively aligned to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and thereby meeting demands from industry and society, the notion of “global competence” has attracted more and more attention from engineering schools. While there is no universally agreed on definition of global competence, the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) definition, which explicitly combines global awareness and intercultural communication competence with sustainability efforts, seems potentially well positioned to inform higher education institutions’ (HEI) global competence education. This is perhaps especially so when it comes to international student mobility, an area which is regularly seen as an important means to enhance global competence while all too often being assessed not in terms of qualitative student development, but in terms of structural indicators. However, in order to assess and improve curricula and mobility programs, the desired learning outcomes must first be specified. Based on research in five European countries (Spain, Italy, Sweden, France and Hungary), this paper details the understanding, requirements and perceived skill gaps of companies hiring engineering graduates, a first step towards improved and assessable global competence education for engineering students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development II)
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16 pages, 1210 KiB  
Article
Using Group Model Building to Foster Learning for Strategic Sustainable Development
by Matilda Watz
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8350; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208350 - 11 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2490
Abstract
Capability for strategic planning and decision-making toward sustainability requires both individuals and organizations from different sectors and disciplines to develop necessary skills and competencies. Therefore, a growing discussion has emerged within academia and practice around how pedagogical methods and tools can be utilized [...] Read more.
Capability for strategic planning and decision-making toward sustainability requires both individuals and organizations from different sectors and disciplines to develop necessary skills and competencies. Therefore, a growing discussion has emerged within academia and practice around how pedagogical methods and tools can be utilized for this purpose. This paper seeks to contribute to this discussion by asking ‘in which way may group model building be used to foster learning that leads to competency for strategic sustainable development?’. The potential of the group model building (GMB) process’ steps and associated modeling to foster learning for strategic sustainable development (SSD) was analyzed using four case examples. Theory on learning for sustainability and key sustainability competencies were linked to elements of a process for strategic planning toward sustainability within the framework for strategic sustainable development (FSSD) as a reference model. The results provide a discussion on how GMB can be utilized to foster sustainability competencies and learning for sustainability that can contribute to SSD, hence a basis for continued research and ideas for course and curriculum development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development II)
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20 pages, 1503 KiB  
Article
Knowledge of Student Teachers on Sustainable Land Use Issues–Knowledge Types Relevant for Teacher Education
by Lisa Richter-Beuschel and Susanne Bögeholz
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8332; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208332 - 10 Oct 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2138
Abstract
For restructuring educational processes and institutions toward Sustainable Development, teachers’ knowledge and competences are crucial. Due to the high relevance of teachers’ content knowledge, this study aimed to (i) assess Sustainable Development-relevant knowledge by differentiating between situational, conceptual and procedural knowledge, (ii) find [...] Read more.
For restructuring educational processes and institutions toward Sustainable Development, teachers’ knowledge and competences are crucial. Due to the high relevance of teachers’ content knowledge, this study aimed to (i) assess Sustainable Development-relevant knowledge by differentiating between situational, conceptual and procedural knowledge, (ii) find out via item response theory modelling how these theoretically distinguished knowledge types can be empirically supported, and (iii) link the knowledge dimension(s) to related constructs. We developed a paper-and-pencil test to assess these three knowledge types (N = 314). A two-dimensional structure that combines situational and conceptual knowledge and that distinguishes situational/conceptual knowledge from procedural knowledge, fits the data best (EAP/PV situational/conceptual: 0.63; EAP/PV procedural: 0.67). Student teachers at master level outperformed bachelor level students in situational/conceptual knowledge but master level students did not differ from students at bachelor level regarding procedural knowledge. We observed only slight correlations between the two knowledge dimensions and the content-related motivational orientations of professional action competence. Student teachers’ deficits in procedural knowledge can be attributed to the small number of Education for Sustainable Development-relevant courses attended. Systematically fostering procedural knowledge in teacher education could promote achieving cognitive learning objectives associated with Sustainable Development Goals in the long term. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development II)
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20 pages, 2305 KiB  
Article
Combining Indigenous Knowledge and Modern Education to Foster Sustainability Competencies: Towards a Set of Learning Design Principles
by Yared Nigussie Demssie, Harm J. A. Biemans, Renate Wesselink and Martin Mulder
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 6823; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12176823 - 22 Aug 2020
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 6475
Abstract
An important step in the endeavor towards a more socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable world is identifying and fostering sustainability competencies (SCs). There are major international initiatives that identify sustainability-related goals (the Sustainable Development Goals) and those that recognize the crucial role of [...] Read more.
An important step in the endeavor towards a more socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable world is identifying and fostering sustainability competencies (SCs). There are major international initiatives that identify sustainability-related goals (the Sustainable Development Goals) and those that recognize the crucial role of education in achieving such goals (the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development). There are also academic studies that address education for sustainable development. Usually, such initiatives and studies take western worldviews for granted. This limits opportunities for other worldviews which could contribute to sustainability. It is unclear what indigenous knowledge and pedagogies, apart from the dominant western approaches, could help to enhance SCs. To address this gap, a qualitative study was conducted in Ethiopia, a country with more than seventeen centuries old indigenous education system and indigenous knowledge. To utilize alternative worldviews and pedagogies vis-à-vis fostering SCs and incorporating them in modern education systems, five learning design principles were proposed. These are: define worldviews, utilize indigenous knowledge, use sustainability-oriented pedagogies, engage learners, and build on students’ experiences. Theoretically, the study contributes to sustainability, education for sustainable development, and indigenous knowledge. The findings may serve as a starting point in designing education and training for broader sustainability approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development II)
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18 pages, 1554 KiB  
Article
Competence Literate but Context Lacking? Investigating the Potential of Study Abroad Programs to Promote Sustainability Competence Acquisition in Students
by James Ayers
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5389; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135389 - 3 Jul 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2799
Abstract
The examination of pedagogies that promote effective sustainability learning has led to vigorous academic discussion, as has research regarding the role of competence-based learning for sustainability. This paper investigates the role of a study abroad program, the Engineers without Borders Design Summit, in [...] Read more.
The examination of pedagogies that promote effective sustainability learning has led to vigorous academic discussion, as has research regarding the role of competence-based learning for sustainability. This paper investigates the role of a study abroad program, the Engineers without Borders Design Summit, in promoting the acquisition of sustainability competencies in its students. This study analysed both content of the program pedagogy and the written learning reflections of 137 student participants to examine if the program resulted in sustainability competence acquisition. The study’s findings suggested that students did acquire sustainability competencies during the program, but also that students may become competence-literate but context-lacking as they acquire competency skillsets without understanding their purpose for use as sustainability tools or to promote sustainability outcomes. Therefore, this study recommends that competence-based education for sustainability requires situation of competence acquisition within sustainability contextualisation to ensure full competence potential is fulfilled. This study suggests that contextualisation can occur in a number of ways, including the use of defined sustainability principles as boundary conditions to frame learning environments, the use of sustainability epistemic teachers as “guides” to connect learning to sustainability and the facilitation of student experiences with unsustainability to promote personally motivated action towards sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development II)
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18 pages, 984 KiB  
Article
Assessment of the Development of Professional Skills in University Students: Sustainability and Serious Games
by Noemi Peña Miguel, Javier Corral Lage and Ana Mata Galindez
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1014; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031014 - 31 Jan 2020
Cited by 37 | Viewed by 6124
Abstract
In this study, we analyze the development of key professional skills for sustainability (KPSS) in university students using serious games (SG) from a sustainability perspective. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were set by the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Universities are strategic [...] Read more.
In this study, we analyze the development of key professional skills for sustainability (KPSS) in university students using serious games (SG) from a sustainability perspective. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were set by the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Universities are strategic agents in the transformation process towards sustainability. Thus, universities should be committed to promoting such skills in their students through sustainable curricula by implementing active methodologies and using SG for that purpose. KPSS are essential for the development of future graduates. The aim of this study is to determine what KPSS have to be developed through the SG “The Island”, in order to improve the degree of satisfaction towards the incorporation of a sustainable curriculum among the students. The data were obtained using a questionnaire and then analyzed using linear regression models, with their inferences estimated through a goodness of fit test and ANOVA. The first results indicated that implementation of the SG promoted a strengthening of the students' sustainable curriculum through the development of related skills. It was concluded that the key to success in education for sustainable development is to improve the development of strategic thinking, collaborative thinking, and self-awareness, in addition to encouraging systemic, critical, and problem-solving thinking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development II)
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21 pages, 8571 KiB  
Article
Case Study to Analyze the Impact of Multi-Course Project-Based Learning Approach on Education for Sustainable Development
by Amith Khandakar, Muhammad Enamul Hoque Chowdhury, Antonio Jr. San Pedro Gonzales, Farid Touati, Nasser Al Emadi and Mohamed Arselene Ayari
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 480; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020480 - 8 Jan 2020
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 4727
Abstract
This work presents a multi-course project-based learning (MPL) approach implemented using two electrical engineering (EE) interdisciplinary undergraduate courses at Qatar University. Implementing an MPL approach helps in the development of critical thinking and collaborative decision-making skills. The attainment of these skills is also [...] Read more.
This work presents a multi-course project-based learning (MPL) approach implemented using two electrical engineering (EE) interdisciplinary undergraduate courses at Qatar University. Implementing an MPL approach helps in the development of critical thinking and collaborative decision-making skills. The attainment of these skills is also the outcome of education for sustainable development (ESD); the skills help students acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and values necessary to shape a sustainable future. The participating students’ worked on a design project, which was used to assess the fulfillment of a set of student learning outcomes (SLOs), focusing on engineering soft skills and project management skills. The skills include the ability to communicate effectively, to work collaboratively in a team, to think both critically and creatively, and to manage projects efficiently with realistic constraints and standards. The challenges of implementing the MPL method are the organization of pedagogical activities that are planned for each of the courses involved, the coordination of the materials delivered by each course, and the supervision of around 90 students per year performing the MPL method. The experience of MPL deployment in the EE program was rated using student surveys. It was assumed that the MPL approach would be beneficial to the students based on the instructors’ and students’ feedback from the same courses in previous years. This was verified using chi-square statistics of the survey results. The implementation of the MPL also helped in increasing the average marks scored by the students in the design project. Some interesting feedback, statistical analyses, and improvement actions are reported for future upgrades. This work also contributes to the MPL pragmatic body of knowledge by exploring a successful initiative and its outcomes, which can help in attaining the skills needed for ESD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development II)
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18 pages, 817 KiB  
Article
A Process-Oriented Framework of Competencies for Sustainability Entrepreneurship
by Tamsin Foucrier and Arnim Wiek
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7250; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247250 - 17 Dec 2019
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 6069
Abstract
Employee-owned businesses, benefit corporations, and other efforts in sustainability entrepreneurship are responding to prevalent challenges such as climate change, economic inequalities, and unethical business behavior. Universities, however, often fall short in sufficiently equipping students with competencies in sustainability entrepreneurship. One reason is that [...] Read more.
Employee-owned businesses, benefit corporations, and other efforts in sustainability entrepreneurship are responding to prevalent challenges such as climate change, economic inequalities, and unethical business behavior. Universities, however, often fall short in sufficiently equipping students with competencies in sustainability entrepreneurship. One reason is that none of the existing frameworks links competencies to the actual processes of entrepreneurship, from discovery to consolidation. If graduates are to successfully start and run sustainability-oriented enterprises, the real-world entrepreneurship processes should provide the main orientation for training and learning. The present study proposes such a framework. We first conducted a qualitative literature review on competencies for entrepreneurs, sustainability professionals, social entrepreneurs, and sustainability entrepreneurs. We clustered the identified competencies according to conceptual similarities. On this basis, we describe sustainability entrepreneurship competencies along the entrepreneurial process model. The result is a process-oriented and literature-based framework of sustainability entrepreneurship competencies. It is intended to be used as a general vision for students, faculty, and entrepreneurs, as well as for the design of curricula, courses, and assessments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development II)
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18 pages, 722 KiB  
Article
Scientific Support for Redesigning a Higher-Education Curriculum on Sustainability
by Corinne Ruesch Schweizer, Antonietta Di Giulio and Patricia Burkhardt-Holm
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 6035; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216035 - 30 Oct 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3146
Abstract
This paper is devoted to how a team of experts scientifically supported redesigning the curriculum of an elective study program that promotes competences for sustainable development. In contrast to other case studies of higher education for sustainable development (HESD), the paper does not [...] Read more.
This paper is devoted to how a team of experts scientifically supported redesigning the curriculum of an elective study program that promotes competences for sustainable development. In contrast to other case studies of higher education for sustainable development (HESD), the paper does not present the outcome of the curricular-redesign process but focuses on its scientific support. It shows how this process was initiated and facilitated. It understands curricular redesign as a social process. The premises are, first, that supporting curricular processes means guiding the decision-making of those in charge but not making decisions in their place, and second, that the redesign of a curriculum has to consider the existing institutional situation as well as empirical and theoretical expectations. The article discusses how scientific support can help a curricular redesign draw on both experience-based knowledge and sound HESD theories and findings. Furthermore, it reflects on the role of those supporting such a process and on how they can help the actors find a realistic compromise between the existing situation and the perceived ideal. This requires competences in mining, aggregating, and reprocessing knowledge in the field of HESD, as well as in designing and supporting an interdisciplinary process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development II)
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21 pages, 816 KiB  
Article
Students’ Perspective on Quality Assurance in Higher Education in the Context of Sustainability: A PLS-SEM Approach
by Ana Alexandra Gora, Simona Cătălina Ștefan, Ștefan Cătălin Popa and Cătălina Florentina Albu
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4793; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174793 - 3 Sep 2019
Cited by 36 | Viewed by 5699
Abstract
The purpose of this paper was to provide empirical evidence of the impact of quality assurance in higher education on two relevant higher education outcomes; students’ knowledge, skills, and competencies; and their employability. Survey data were collected from two major Romanian public universities [...] Read more.
The purpose of this paper was to provide empirical evidence of the impact of quality assurance in higher education on two relevant higher education outcomes; students’ knowledge, skills, and competencies; and their employability. Survey data were collected from two major Romanian public universities and analyzed using a partial least-squares structural equations modeling (PLS-SEM) technique. The main results suggested that students’ competencies were positively and directly influenced by the quality of the educational process, as well as the practical and research activities. The students’ chances of employment in the labor market were positively and directly influenced only by the quality of the educational process and by the research activities. Indirect influences were also revealed. The findings of the study may be shown to have theoretical implications by proposing a model that links the features of quality management in higher education institutions with students’ competencies and chances of employment in the labor market. From a practical perspective, the results may be of interest to higher education policy makers, to evaluation and accreditation institutions, to universities, and also to students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development II)
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Review

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24 pages, 1101 KiB  
Review
Educator Competences in Sustainability Education: A Systematic Review of Frameworks
by Andrea Corres, Marco Rieckmann, Anna Espasa and Isabel Ruiz-Mallén
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 9858; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12239858 - 25 Nov 2020
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 7078
Abstract
The design and use of competence frameworks and models for educators in Sustainability 3iEducation is a growing field of study that seeks to guide their professional development while identifying, examining, and assessing the competences they need. In this article we conduct a systematic [...] Read more.
The design and use of competence frameworks and models for educators in Sustainability 3iEducation is a growing field of study that seeks to guide their professional development while identifying, examining, and assessing the competences they need. In this article we conduct a systematic review of the frameworks and models of sustainability competences addressed to teachers and other educators to shed light on (a) the backgrounds of the analyzed frameworks, (b) the conceptual and pedagogical approaches towards sustainability and competences behind them, (c) the different types of educators’ competences included and particularly those addressed to promote transformational perspectives, and (d) the pedagogical strategies applied to develop them. We analyzed 14 papers out of an initial sample of 437. Findings show that all are developed in Europe. Most of them rely on the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) framework and its guiding approach of Education for Sustainable Development. A few others critically approach sustainability and recognize its contradictions even though they subscribe within this broad sustainability approach. The most common competences are Critical Thinking, Participation in Community, and Connections, which have been identified as those that educators need to face current sustainability challenges from a critical and transformative perspective. However, other competences significantly associated with transformational education such as Emotions Management, Futures and Achieving Transformation are less addressed and receive less attention in terms of the pedagogical strategies needed to promote them. We discuss how the different ways of understanding and operationalizing sustainability and competences behind these frameworks can shape educators’ transformational capacities in Sustainability Education. Further research should address the identified challenges and provide educators with practical and suitable tools for transformative education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development II)
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