This paper aims at identifying factors that could contribute to the motivation of students in sustainable development (SD) education. The underlying idea of the paper is that SD education is not always as attractive among students and lecturers as many would like it to be.
The paper briefly reviews literature regarding behavioral change for long-term benefits. It identifies four motivators that could be effective to make people pursue longer-term objectives. It identifies if these motivators were present in five cases of successful SD education.
The four motivators for students that were identified in the literature review (a sense of autonomy, a challenge of reflection on the future role, connection with others, self-fulfillment, focus on the individual learning need) could be observed in the cases of successful SD education, although to various degrees. Individual autonomy in learning was not observed, but group autonomy was present in all cases.
The case studies were all electives. It is unclear how the motivators could work out in mandatory courses. Moreover, the curriculum as a whole will affect the success of single courses. Successful courses being “the exception” of the curriculum might be judged differently if they would be part of the curriculum in which such courses would be the main stream. Further research is required to check if the motivators are effective in mandatory and not specifically SD-targeted courses. It is also not clear how various motivators could be applied most effectively in a curriculum.
The paper gives guidance to lecturers and educational managers to design attractive and effective SD education.
The paper treats SD education from a novel perspective: how to convey a credible behavioral message, and how to motivate students for education for SD.
Mulder, K., Ferrer, D., Segalas Coral, J., Kordas, O., Nikiforovich, E. and Pereverza, K. (2015), "Motivating students and lecturers for education in sustainable development", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 385-401. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-03-2014-0033Download as .RIS
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