30 SES 06 A, Key Competences in Higher Education
Agreement has been built on a limited set of key competencies in sustainability as reference for sustainability programs in higher education (Wiek, Withycombe, & Redman, 2011). Research on the learning processes by which students develop these key competencies is however still at a nascent stage. Since its inception, scholars and practitioners have seen a need for education for sustainable development (ESD) to be of a different kind than that which has generated today’s sustainability challenges (Sterling, 2001). There are numerous and often quite innovative experiments happening at the course and curriculum level around the world exploring the different kind of education necessary to develop key competencies in sustainability. Research on these cases is critically needed to properly inform the rapid ongoing implementation of sustainability programs with sufficient evidence of how sustainability should be taught.
The Educating Future Change Agents (EFCA) project, a joint research initiative of Leuphana University, Germany and Arizona State University, USA has since 2016 been conducting research into several such programs. A team of researchers has carried out an integrated and innovative multi-case study design at both universities. As part of the synthesis and generation of insights the project is organizing a series of workshops on the topic. This panel discussion will share the results of these workshops and bring together the leading scholars who participated in them. Questions which will be explored include:
- What novel teaching and learning formats are effective in developing key competencies in sustainability and to what extent?
- How do these formats generate a learning process towards key competency development?
- What generalizable insights can we understand about learning processes which lead to key competency development?
The questions will be explored in different international and institutional contexts within higher education. This symposium will offer a clear contribution to our understanding of the current state of understanding the learning processes of key competency development. The diverse set of contributors from Germany, Sweden, and Belgium offers not just an overview of the current state of the field but a critical reflection of where it stands and the identification of key gaps in knowledge for future investigations.
Sterling, S. R. (2001). Sustainable education: re-visioning learning and change. Green Books for the Schumacher Society. Wiek, A., Withycombe, L., & Redman, C. L. (2011). Key competencies in sustainability: a reference framework for academic program development. Sustainability Science, 6(2), 203–218. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-011-0132-6
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