This paper’s purpose is to describe students’ learning processes in a project-based and self-organized seminar on sustainability. A detailed knowledge of typical learning…
This paper’s purpose is to describe students’ learning processes in a project-based and self-organized seminar on sustainability. A detailed knowledge of typical learning processes is part of a pedagogical content knowledge of sustainability and can therefore contribute to the professional development of university educators.
In a project-based and self-organized seminar, a case study has been conducted with the grounded theory’s methodological approach. Data were collected from student interviews, group discussions and observations of students’ planning and organization meetings.
The results of the case study show that students’ learning processes vary depending on their pre-seminar sustainability experiences. Two types have been established: sustainability newcomers and sustainability experts. Furthermore, the results indicate the importance of emotions in the involvement with sustainability.
The significance of the case study is limited by a small number of cases. Also, the results are specific for a seminar self-organized by the students and can therefore not simply be transferred to other seminars.
Knowledge of specific learning processes and a possible conceptual change in sustainability classes could be an important issue in the professional development of university educators because it would increase the educators’ pedagogical content knowledge.
The triangulation of qualitative data mainly served the investigation of students’ perspectives and therefore the understanding of subjective preferences, experiences and learning processes in the field of higher education for sustainable development (HESD).
Energy poverty can be seen as a relatively new, but typical sustainability problem in which various dimensions (ecology, society and economy) are interlinked and in part conflict…
Energy poverty can be seen as a relatively new, but typical sustainability problem in which various dimensions (ecology, society and economy) are interlinked and in part conflict with each other. Moreover, the variety of involved stakeholders (planners, tenants, housing companies, private landlords, energy consultants, etc.) represents conflicting aims for solving this problem. This paper aims to present a systematic linkage between higher education for sustainable development (HESD) and education about energy poverty yet.
A qualitative comparative case study approach with a similar didactic approach is used.
Based on the literature about HESD and an overall model in general didactics, ten criteria were identified and used for an overall reflection about similar courses dealing with the topic of energy poverty. The criteria covered the learning goals, the didactical approaches and the institutional support in the forms of organisation in the courses.
There was no competency measurement of the students in the described courses.
There was no evaluation of the development of students’ key competencies for sustainability. However, the reflections of students and teachers revealed a positive development regarding the students’ learning process, especially because they worked on a real-world sustainability problem: energy poverty.
This contribution describes how university courses on energy poverty were designed and implemented at five German universities. Against the background of general criteria for HESD, it reflects on the experiences that the use of this concept evoked. Through a comparison of the five courses against these criteria, the paper outlines strengths and weaknesses of the approach and closes with recommendations and requirements for designing further courses.