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Article
Publication date: 29 March 2022

Sally Randles, Paul Dewick, Eleanor Hannan, Dawn Theresa Nicholson, Martijn Rietbergen, Christopher Taylor, Valeria Ruiz Vargas, Helen Wadham and Lauren Withycombe Keeler

This study aims to present theory, practice and original research findings to support the proposition that broad enquiry and problem-based learning (EPBL) approaches provide an…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to present theory, practice and original research findings to support the proposition that broad enquiry and problem-based learning (EPBL) approaches provide an appropriate pedagogical lens for sustainability educators to develop the knowledge and skills needed to work effectively within mission-oriented innovation policy (MIP) environments.

Design/methodology/approach

The research study comprised four elements, each of which used different research methods. The first element involved a literature review mapping the synergies between MIP and EPBL; the second element piloted the use of EPBL for undergraduate modules related to sustainability challenges; the third element involved external stakeholders in the co-creation of a postgraduate programme that brought together innovation and sustainability, with EPBL fundamental to the design and development; the fourth element curated and comparatively analysed international cases of EPBL in the context of MIP, and sustainability challenges in particular, highlighting the versatility of EPBL and the importance of creativity in EPBL design and implementation.

Findings

The systematic literature review reveals synergies between the key features of EPBL and defining characteristics of MIP, indicating the relevance of applying EPBL to support MIP. Two in situ pilots generated 13 recommendations on the benefits and operational challenges of applying EPBL. These recommendations informed the design and development of a postgraduate programme, involving a transdisciplinary consultation process with key industrial and societal stakeholders. Comparative analysis of four international case studies describing EPBL applied in practice in different international settings show there is no “one size fits all”. Instead, the application of EPBL to different sustainability challenges and for different learner groups demonstrates the versatility of the pedagogical approach and the creativity of the sustainability educators.

Originality/value

A discourse around the appropriate pedagogical methods and teaching/learning practice to equip the current and future workforce with the knowledge and skills to respond to MIP and global sustainability challenges is nascent but emerging. This paper makes a scientific and practical contribution to the discourse. The authors show how EPBL can underpin the design of programmes to provide learners with the knowledge and skills to support organisations working effectively within an MIP context, especially addressing sustainability challenges. The authors provide recommendations for educators seeking to embed EPBL within their curriculum and call for external stakeholders to proactively engage with educators to co-create programmes with context-specific outcomes.

Details

Journal of International Education in Business, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-469X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 26 August 2014

Arnim Wiek, Angela Xiong, Katja Brundiers and Sander van der Leeuw

The article aims to describe the problem- and project-based learning (PPBL) program and the institutional context at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability (SOS)…

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Abstract

Purpose

The article aims to describe the problem- and project-based learning (PPBL) program and the institutional context at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability (SOS), with the goal of offering experience-based guidance for similar initiatives in sustainability programs around the world.

Design/methodology/approach

This case study presents the diverse PPBL activities that SOS offers on the undergraduate and the graduate levels and examines the institutional structures in place that support these activities. Data were collected through literature and document reviews, observations, interviews, student evaluations and faculty surveys.

Findings

The review of the PPBL program at SOS illustrates a case of successfully inaugurating a PPBL program in sustainability at a major university in the USA. Yet, a key challenge for this program and similar programs around the world is how to maintain the institutional momentum and make advances after the initial takeoff. SOS is attempting to address this issue by developing greater program cohesion and coordination, synthesizing past products and learning, monitoring and evaluating impacts, and developing PPBL training programs for faculty and graduate students.

Practical implications

The experiences and findings presented can help other programs to articulate the benefits of a PPBL initiative, anticipate implementation challenges and successfully support their own PPBL initiatives through adequate institutional structures. The review points to the fact that the major impact on both student learning and outcomes for partner organizations is achieved through a concerted effort by the organization as a whole. Successful PPBL programs require both top-down commitments from the administration and bottom-up drive from interested faculty and students.

Originality/value

This case study discusses the PPBL program at SOS. The findings can inform and support the ongoing transformation in sustainability education with the ultimate objective to build students’ capacities to address and solve wicked sustainability problems in the real world, competently collaborating with partners from government, business and civil society.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 18 April 2022

Ivo Matser, Satu Teerikangas and Mollie Painter

Abstract

Details

Journal of International Education in Business, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-469X

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