Transdisciplinary Education for Sustainability

Giles Thomson

Forskningsoutput: Bidrag till specialistpublikationArtikel


This paper is an exploration into the teaching and learning requirements within Higher Education for Sustainable Development (HESD). It provides an overview of why HESD is necessary, including recent high level United Nations policy directions for education, and broader societal sustainability goals. Because sustainable development is multi-faceted and interconnected (i.e. a wicked problem), high-level sustainable development policies at the international and national level offer goals, rather than concrete steps for achieving sustainability outcomes. This makes the creation of education programs, with clear learning outcomes for students, nebulous and presents a challenge for HESD program development. To address this Wiek, Withycombe, and Redman’s (2011) assembled a list of key sustainability competencies which is widely used and cited by educators and researchers, and a recurring theme within general sustainability literature is the need to complement educational content with transdisciplinary approaches (i.e., partnerships with business, government and civil society actors) to impact change in real life. To help equip students to address societal transformation toward sustainability, transdisciplinary skills are also useful learning outcomes. However, the exploration of the intersection between transdisciplinary approaches and HESD has only recently started to gain attention in the literature. To understand the key educational outcomes of transdisciplinary approaches in HESD, this paper presents background on HESD followed by a literature survey. The literature survey reveals four key themes relevant to course development involving transdisciplinary approaches, including – knowledge integration, applied cases, problem based learning and interpersonal skills /agency – in combination these build student competencies to engage in societal activities related to sustainable development.
Antal sidor27
SpecialistpublikationHögskolepedagogisk debatt
StatusPublicerad - 2022-jan.
Externt publiceradJa

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