Seeking richer descriptions of learners' sustainability attributes and learning needs

S. Mann (Department of Information Technology, Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin, New Zealand)
J. Harraway (Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand)
F. Broughton‐Ansin (Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand)
L. Deaker (Higher Education Development Centre, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand)
K. Shephard (Higher Education Development Centre, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Publication date: 4 January 2013

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to respond to calls for higher education institutions to address sustainability within the curriculum. Institutions that aim to graduate citizens with prescribed attributes relevant to sustainability may need to develop teaching and learning support‐programmes appropriate to the varied nature of students' worldviews.

Design/methodology/approach

The research described here used the NEP (Revised New Ecological Paradigm) and statistical cluster‐analysis to explore if individuals within cohorts of students could reasonably be clustered into subgroups with identified sustainability attributes relevant to the design of learner‐support programmes.

Findings

All seven programme cohorts in one institution's annual intake clustered into three subgroups with identifiable attributes.

Practical implications

The results are discussed in relation to how post‐compulsory education institutions can define the sustainability characteristics of their students and to the pedagogic literature that addresses diversity in student groups.

Originality/value

The approach may help higher education institutions better understand the needs of individual students within large groups and to develop appropriate support programmes for students with similar attributes and needs.

Keywords

Citation

Mann, S., Harraway, J., Broughton‐Ansin, F., Deaker, L. and Shephard, K. (2013), "Seeking richer descriptions of learners' sustainability attributes and learning needs", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 90-100. https://doi.org/10.1108/14676371311288976

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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