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Developing key competencies for sustainable development in higher education

Matthias Barth (Universität Lüneburg, Lüneburg, Germany)
Jasmin Godemann (Universität Lüneburg, Lüneburg, Germany)
Marco Rieckmann (Universität Lüneburg, Lüneburg, Germany)
Ute Stoltenberg (Universität Lüneburg, Lüneburg, Germany)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 25 September 2007

13543

Abstract

Purpose

To date, little attention has been given to the circumstances in which the process of developing key competencies for sustainable development may take place. The purpose of this paper is to consider, the possibilities both of formal and informal learning and their relationship to competence development within higher education.

Design/methodology/approach

An explorative, qualitative study based on focus groups was designed using different groups from formal and informal learning settings.

Findings

The development of key competencies is based both on cognitive and non‐cognitive dispositions and asks for multiple contexts. Through combining formal and informal learning settings within higher education – as part of a new learning culture – a variety of contexts can be given and competence development can be enhanced.

Research limitations/implications

While aspects of both formal and informal learning settings could be identified, the interdependencies between them remain elusive.

Practical implications

Based on the findings, some main aspects for acquiring competencies can be pointed out that may be crucial in higher education settings.

Originality/value

The paper analyses the implications for both formal and informal learning settings of new ways of developing key competencies within higher education. Particular attention is given to interdisciplinarity and students' self‐responsibility.

Keywords

Citation

Barth, M., Godemann, J., Rieckmann, M. and Stoltenberg, U. (2007), "Developing key competencies for sustainable development in higher education", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 416-430. https://doi.org/10.1108/14676370710823582

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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