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The transforming generation: increasing student awareness about the effects of economic decisions on sustainability

Javier Sierra (Department of Applied Economics, University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain)
Ángela Suárez-Collado (Department of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 11 June 2021

Issue publication date: 16 August 2021

639

Abstract

Purpose

There is a growing trend in higher education institutions to develop multi-disciplinary approaches to education for sustainable development and to implement student-centered and problem-based methodologies to increase student engagement and satisfaction. This paper aims to present an innovative methodology to increase student awareness about the effects of economic decisions on sustainability.

Design/methodology/approach

This method uses a videogame and two board games to simulate three spheres of economic interaction, namely, local, national and international. For every sphere, three key economic sectors and their relationships with fundamental sustainable development goals (SDGs) are addressed. This study uses pre- and post-simulation data to analyze the students’ perceptions regarding the usefulness of the simulations and their awareness about the effects of economic decisions on sustainability.

Findings

The implementation of this teaching and learning method demonstrated not only that active learning can effectively increase student awareness about the potential social and environmental consequences of economic decisions but also that students perceive games and simulations as useful teaching and learning tools.

Social implications

Students in these areas need to learn not only how to transform original ideas into successful projects but also to align financial results with social and environmental objectives. The methodology presented in this research allows to enhance learning from a multi-disciplinary perspective, helping the students to analyze different economic sectors and their connection with a number of SDGs through the lens of public economics.

Originality/value

The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has shown the effects of a global pandemic at the economic, social and environmental levels. This paper presents an innovative active learning framework to increase sustainability awareness among students of economics, business and management.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors of this research would like to thank the anonymous reviewers and the editor for their helpful comments and suggestions.

Funding: This research was supported by the educational innovation project ID2017/091 of the University of Salamanca.

Declaration of interest statement.

No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.

Citation

Sierra, J. and Suárez-Collado, Á. (2021), "The transforming generation: increasing student awareness about the effects of economic decisions on sustainability", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 22 No. 5, pp. 1087-1107. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-06-2020-0221

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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