Special Issue "Social Network Analysis and Social Networks in Education for Sustainable Development"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Nina Kolleck
Website
Guest Editor
Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany
Interests: social network analysis; mixed methods; educational research; educational reform; school improvement; governance; public policy; organizations; collaboration and cooperation; trust; motivation; sustainability; climate change

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the last few years, a growing endorsement of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), in both research and praxis, has been observed worldwide. Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has described ESD as the biggest challenge in the current century. Since then several states, NGOs, and educational organizations such as schools or universities have undertaken intensive efforts to anchor the concept into educational settings, systems and organizations at the global, national, regional, and organizational levels. At the same time, the definitions and operationalizations of ESD vary considerably. ESD in so-called developing countries, for instance, may be understood completely different than in the so-called industrialized world.

Since social innovations such as ESD are implemented and realized through social relations, applications of quantitative and qualitative techniques of Social Network Analysis (SNA) or network and governance approaches as such to study the increasing relevance of ESD seem apparent. Despite considerable research on the involvement of ESD, however, its implementation through relations, as well as the interactions between different actors in these processes, have been researched scarcely with social network approaches. This Special Issue addresses the research gap and welcomes articles that are related to aspects of social networks and collaboration with a focus on education and sustainability. It encourages contributions employing different approaches and quantitative and/or qualitative network methods and drawing on different data. Possible topics for article submission include, but are not limited to:

  1. Social networks and collaboration in ESD
  2. Social network analysis in ESD
  3. Cross-sectional partnerships in ESD
  4. Diffusion or transfer of ESD
  5. Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals in education
  6. Student engagement in ESD
  7. Strategic partnerships
  8. Gender, Diversity, Heterogeneity or Inclusion in ESD
  9. Incentives for integrating ESD in networks—including excellence ranking and ratings
  10. Measuring and monitoring ESD

Prof. Dr. Nina Kolleck
Guest Editor

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 papers will be 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 1800 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

  • Education for Sustainable Development
  • Climate Change Education
  • Social Networks
  • Social Network Analysis
  • Governance

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Education for Sustainable Development and Climate Change Education: The Potential of Social Network Analysis Based on Twitter Data
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5499; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195499 - 04 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Education is considered an essential tool for achieving sustainability-related goals. In this regard, education for sustainable development (ESD) and climate change education (CCE) have become prominent concepts. The central characteristics of both concepts influence the non-hierarchical network governance structure that has formed around [...] Read more.
Education is considered an essential tool for achieving sustainability-related goals. In this regard, education for sustainable development (ESD) and climate change education (CCE) have become prominent concepts. The central characteristics of both concepts influence the non-hierarchical network governance structure that has formed around them: (1) their international origin, (2) the conceptual ambiguity that surrounds them, and (3) the limited implementing power of international organizations who developed these concepts. Hence, networks are essential to ESD and CCE, however, only few studies have used social network analysis (SNA) techniques to analyze their governance structure. The aim of this article is to illustrate how to use SNA, based on Twitter data, as an approach to examine the governance structure that has developed around ESD and CCE. We conduct an illustrative SNA, using Twitter data during three global climate change summits (2015-2017) to examine CCE-specific debates and identify actors exerting the most influence. We find that international organizations and international treaty secretariats are most influential across all years of the analysis and, moreover, are represented most often. These findings show that using SNA based on Twitter data offers promising possibilities to better understand the governance structure and processes around both concepts. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Social Media on Learning Behavior for Sustainable Education: Evidence of Students from Selected Universities in Pakistan
Sustainability 2019, 11(6), 1683; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11061683 - 20 Mar 2019
Cited by 14
Abstract
In today’s world, social media is playing an indispensable role on the learning behavior of university students to achieve sustainable education. The impact of social media on sustainable education is becoming an essential and impelling factor. The world has become a global village [...] Read more.
In today’s world, social media is playing an indispensable role on the learning behavior of university students to achieve sustainable education. The impact of social media on sustainable education is becoming an essential and impelling factor. The world has become a global village and technology use has made it a smaller world through social media and how it is changing instruction. This original study is amongst the few to perform a focalized investigation on revealing the relationship between positive and negative characteristics of social media and the learning attitude of university students for sustainable education. However, this study aims to examine the constructive and adverse factors that impact on students’ minds and how these helped students to share positive and negative aspects with others. It is increasingly noticeable that social networking sites and their applications present enormous benefits for as well as risks to university students and their implications on students’ psychological adjustment or learning behaviors are not well understood. This study adapted the cluster sampling method, and respondents participated from five selected regions. Researchers distributed 1013 questionnaires among the targeted sample of university students with an age range of 16 to 35 years, and they collected 831 complete/valid responses. This study applied the social gratification theory to examine students’ behavior practicing social media usage. This study specifically identified 18 adversarial and constructive factors of social media from the previous literature. The findings revealed that the usage of social media in Pakistan has a negative influence on a student’s behavior as compared to positive aspects. Results may not be generalized to the entire student community as findings are specific to the specific respondents only. This study presents a relationship between antithetical and creative characteristics of social media and exhibits avenues for future studies by facilitating a better understanding of web-based social network use. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Social Innovation as a Driver for New Educational Practices: Modernising, Repairing and Transforming the Education System
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1070; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041070 - 18 Feb 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Based on the results of the EU funded Social Innovation – Driving Force of Social Change (SI-DRIVE) project the major challenges and needs of education and lifelong learning worldwide are revealed, focusing on solutions via new educational practices delivered by social innovations and [...] Read more.
Based on the results of the EU funded Social Innovation – Driving Force of Social Change (SI-DRIVE) project the major challenges and needs of education and lifelong learning worldwide are revealed, focusing on solutions via new educational practices delivered by social innovations and embedding civil society. Against this background, a more learner-oriented approach instead of institutional improvements is presented. Based on the results of SI-DRIVE’s global mapping of more than 200 innovative education initiatives and 18 in-depth case studies, the article spotlights the relevant settings and success factors of social innovations in education, leading to a system related typology of social innovation. New ways of repairing, modernising and transforming education as well as separated approaches are illustrated showing the underdeveloped, unexploited and unrecognised potential of this kind of innovation. For setting up a more innovation friendly environment, it is particularly important to realise a paradigm shift towards a learner perspective and rationality. More leeway and new governance structures for integrating and fostering social innovations and unfolding the potential of all societal sectors for enhancing education are necessary. This especially includes a more active and new role of universities in enabling, exchanging, moderating and researching social innovation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
One Transformation Path Does Not Fit All—Insights into the Diffusion Processes of Education for Sustainable Development in Different Educational Areas in Germany
Sustainability 2019, 11(1), 269; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010269 - 08 Jan 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
While Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is increasingly being implemented in educational systems, monitoring projects which capture the status and diffusion processes of ESD are also gaining relevance. The article presents part of the national monitoring of ESD in Germany—a qualitative expert interview [...] Read more.
While Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is increasingly being implemented in educational systems, monitoring projects which capture the status and diffusion processes of ESD are also gaining relevance. The article presents part of the national monitoring of ESD in Germany—a qualitative expert interview study—which aims to analyze the diffusion process of ESD in different educational areas (early childhood education, school education, vocational education and training, higher education, non-formal learning organizations, and local authorities). Its goal is to gain a systematic understanding of the diffusion process of ESD in the different areas of the German educational system. For the analysis of the 66 expert interviews, a qualitative content analysis was used. The overarching result of the study is that there is no single transformation path of ESD diffusion that fits all educational areas. Instead, characteristics of ESD as well as prevailing structural conditions, systemic goals, and the understanding of education within the respective educational area have an impact on the diffusion of ESD. The diffusion process of ESD evolves within this circular interplay of innovation and innovation system. A deeper understanding of it therefore has great potential for practitioners’ (self-) reflections and for further research projects. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The 5E Model of Environmental Engagement: Bringing Sustainability Change to Higher Education through Positive Psychology
Sustainability 2019, 11(1), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010241 - 05 Jan 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
What is the role of universities in advancing sustainability? This paper delineates a unique program for promoting sustainability that was applied in Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB). The unique characteristics of the program are described in light of the positive sustainability framework. The five [...] Read more.
What is the role of universities in advancing sustainability? This paper delineates a unique program for promoting sustainability that was applied in Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB). The unique characteristics of the program are described in light of the positive sustainability framework. The five components of the program are designed to promote sustainable behavior of participants, through promoting goal-oriented hope: setting a goal; believing that one can successfully achieve the chosen goal (agency thinking); viewing the potential paths for achieving the goal (pathway thinking); and trusting other members of society to follow the same desired goal (social trust). The five components of the program are designed to jointly raise all the elements of hope. It starts with goal setting (estimate), which is aimed at evaluating the impact of the university on the physical environment. Secondly, the entire community of the university should be engaged in achieving the desired goal. The third component of the method is education about the potential options and actions for achieving the designed goal. Then, enabling the achievement of the goal takes place (meaning making it easy). Lastly, participants should be encouraged to pursue the goal by positive rewarding. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
User Willingness toward Knowledge Sharing in Social Networks
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4680; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124680 - 08 Dec 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Social networks introduce new potential for people to share knowledge with others. However, it is not clear what factors influence user willingness toward knowledge sharing in social networks. Aiming to answer these questions, in this paper we analyze the major factors influencing user [...] Read more.
Social networks introduce new potential for people to share knowledge with others. However, it is not clear what factors influence user willingness toward knowledge sharing in social networks. Aiming to answer these questions, in this paper we analyze the major factors influencing user willingness toward knowledge sharing in social networks and propose a new research model that is inspired by the technology acceptance model (TAM). In particular, we introduce a new independent variable called perceived value which is described by four aspects: social value, entertainment value, emotion value, and information value. In addition, we introduce a new mediating variable, trust, to reflect the intermediating relationship between perceived value and knowledge-sharing willingness. We conduct an empirical analysis on questionnaire data and present comprehensive results on reliability and validity, factor analysis, correlation analysis, and mediating effects analysis. The results show that perceived value has a significant impact on knowledge-sharing willingness, and trust plays a partial intermediate role between perceived value and knowledge-sharing willingness. Further, we present some research implications for knowledge sharing and learning innovation in social networks, as well as some suggestions for organizations to advance knowledge sharing and learning innovation in the social-network age. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Developing Knowledge-Based Resources: The Role of Entrepreneurs’ Social Network Size and Trust
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3380; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103380 - 21 Sep 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Entrepreneurs’ social networks play a crucial role in developing knowledge-based resources for their new ventures. Although most studies in an entrepreneurship context find that trust is very important when entrepreneurs develop social networks, limited research examines how trust can explain the variation in [...] Read more.
Entrepreneurs’ social networks play a crucial role in developing knowledge-based resources for their new ventures. Although most studies in an entrepreneurship context find that trust is very important when entrepreneurs develop social networks, limited research examines how trust can explain the variation in the relationship between an entrepreneur’s social networks and a firm’s knowledge-based resources. Therefore, the major objective of the paper is to understand the effects of the size of an entrepreneur’s social network on his or her firm’s knowledge-based resources with high and low levels of trust. Our data were collected from surveys administered to 476 entrepreneurs in China in 2018. Our multiple regression analysis indicates that social networks reinforce knowledge-based resources in a situation where entrepreneurs highly trust their major networks partners in their business environment (e.g., family, close friends, consultants, suppliers, peers, etc.). However, with a low level of trust, the relationship between social network and knowledge-based resources is curvilinear (inverse U-shaped). Our empirical validations showed that the relationship between social network and a firm’s knowledge-based resources is highly contingent to the level of trust among network members. Full article
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