The personal context of student learning for sustainability: Results of a multi-university research study

The personal context of student learning for sustainability: Results of a multi-university... The UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD, 2005–2014) was an important framework and catalyst for increasing Sustainable Development (SD) efforts within academic institutions, worldwide. Tertiary institutions began to embed sustainability into the curriculum, although the extent has varied within and between institutions with many adopting an ad hoc approach. Previous studies of student learning outcomes were generally limited in scope and reported mixed results. Few studies systematically investigated the influence of sustainability education (SE) on student views, attitudes and behaviour across a range of contexts. This study adds to the field by using a common instrument that explored how SE contributed to student learning across multiple disciplines, institutions and countries. A quasi-experimental approach was adopted with tertiary students in ‘intervention’ and ‘control’ units. Data was collected using an online two-stage pre-post survey and included the Inclusion of Nature in Self (INS) and New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) scales and measures of selfreported behaviour. A series of snapshots of pre-test and post-test perspectives were taken across various terms of study during 2013–2015. Students' initial sustainability perspectives were found to be influenced by personal and educational factors such as gender, age, “culture” and discipline of study. Environmental worldviews were characterised by jointly strong ecocentric and anthropocentric orientations that represented a “utilitarian” view of human-nature relations. After controlling for pre-test scores, SE significantly increased post-test scores for several NEP dimensions compared to the control group however, the effect was weak and moderated by students' personal and educational context. Students exposed to SE also reported a cognitive shift in their attitudes/perceptions to sustainability that was linked to an increased INS score. The ad hoc approach to SE, combined with students' strong utilitarian worldview and mixed effects of SE indicated learning outcomes were far from certain and probably weak. The paper argued for a rethink of current educational approaches towards a more coherent and targeted educational strategy and concluded with recommendations for policy and praxis to enhance student learning for sustainability in higher education. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Cleaner Production Elsevier

The personal context of student learning for sustainability: Results of a multi-university research study

Loading next page...
 
/lp/elsevier/the-personal-context-of-student-learning-for-sustainability-results-of-S0A2bcK7jU
Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd
ISSN
0959-6526
D.O.I.
10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.01.083
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD, 2005–2014) was an important framework and catalyst for increasing Sustainable Development (SD) efforts within academic institutions, worldwide. Tertiary institutions began to embed sustainability into the curriculum, although the extent has varied within and between institutions with many adopting an ad hoc approach. Previous studies of student learning outcomes were generally limited in scope and reported mixed results. Few studies systematically investigated the influence of sustainability education (SE) on student views, attitudes and behaviour across a range of contexts. This study adds to the field by using a common instrument that explored how SE contributed to student learning across multiple disciplines, institutions and countries. A quasi-experimental approach was adopted with tertiary students in ‘intervention’ and ‘control’ units. Data was collected using an online two-stage pre-post survey and included the Inclusion of Nature in Self (INS) and New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) scales and measures of selfreported behaviour. A series of snapshots of pre-test and post-test perspectives were taken across various terms of study during 2013–2015. Students' initial sustainability perspectives were found to be influenced by personal and educational factors such as gender, age, “culture” and discipline of study. Environmental worldviews were characterised by jointly strong ecocentric and anthropocentric orientations that represented a “utilitarian” view of human-nature relations. After controlling for pre-test scores, SE significantly increased post-test scores for several NEP dimensions compared to the control group however, the effect was weak and moderated by students' personal and educational context. Students exposed to SE also reported a cognitive shift in their attitudes/perceptions to sustainability that was linked to an increased INS score. The ad hoc approach to SE, combined with students' strong utilitarian worldview and mixed effects of SE indicated learning outcomes were far from certain and probably weak. The paper argued for a rethink of current educational approaches towards a more coherent and targeted educational strategy and concluded with recommendations for policy and praxis to enhance student learning for sustainability in higher education.

Journal

Journal of Cleaner ProductionElsevier

Published: Apr 20, 2018

References

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create lists to
organize your research

Export lists, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off