Looking at Strategic Plans of Universities: Sustainable Education, Innovative and Collaborative Learning
A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2021) | Viewed by 17886
Teaching university students to face global challenges is a key aspect of higher education today. Universities around the world are assuming this challenge by adopting student-centered learning strategies to meet the needs of younger generations. Among other strategies adopted by universities, active learning is ones of the pillars, but active learning is more than just using new teaching methods or recent pedagogies: It requires a solid understanding of the needs of the learning processes and the learning community to prepare students for global change and sustainable development goals and challenges. Thus, active learning is more than just facing problems from one specific discipline.
Today, there are more technologies and advances available, but also more complexity. Higher education institutions must transfer several skills to prepare their students to assume newer challenges, but at the same time, students should consider social needs as part of the equation. In this regard, active learning models such as problem-based learning and its variations have become quite popular at all educational levels in preparing students for real-world problems, and concepts such s social issues are becoming quite common in fields like engineering education, though not exclusively. However, adopting these models is not a straightforward process, as it requires deep institutional changes affecting not just students and academic staff, but also the institution’s administration and its infrastructures, and its relationship with society.
The modernization process of higher education and the evolution of our society implies adopting innovative and sustainable models based (or not) on technology.
While some education experts have praised the most innovative current trends present today and made mention of project-based learning, competency-based learning, active methodologies learning, gamification in learning, learning-by-doing, knowledge management, leadership, creativity, and so on, concerns have also been raised about educational institutions not supporting creative tendencies, and some of the arguments suggest that the educational models being used should be changed. One reason for this is that students fail to learn in the classroom-based setting because they get bored or cannot understand the lecture. Obviously, when content is taught in the classroom and thus taught out of context, it tends to be boring, even more so if delivered monotonously by teachers. What is more, students today are accustomed to being exposed to a wide variety of stimuli, most of all interactive and audiovisual content, and feel something is left wanting if such stimuli are not employed in the classroom setting.
Today’s generation is the first to live surrounded by a multitude of screens: smartwatches, smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, televisions, and cinema screens. However, in most cases, our classrooms are barren of any interactive technologies despite the consensus that some, such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technologies, can and do help teachers to motivate students to learn whilst also making learning easier. That said, it is vitally important that we reflect on the pedagogical approach, which among other things depends on profound institutional changes.
This Special Issue of Sustainability explores innovative approaches and developments in higher education, fostering theoretical and empirical research to ensure that institutions provide sustainable education for the next generations. Topics may include but are not limited to: higher education, university strategies, teaching/learning strategies, sustainability, ICT experiences (gamification, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, mobile learning, etc.).Prof. Dr. Jorge Martin Gutierrez
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- Higher education
- University strategies
- Teaching/learning strategies
- ICT experiences (gamification, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, mobile learning, etc.)