Student-led sustainability transformations: employing realist evaluation to open up the black box of learning in a Challenge Lab curriculum
Journal article, 2021
Design/methodology/approach – Realist evaluation was employed as an analytical frame that takes social context into account to unpack learning mechanisms and associated learning outcomes. A socio-cultural perspective on learning was adopted, and ethnographic methods, including interviews and observations, were used.
Findings – Three context-mechanism-outcome (CMO) configurations were identified, capturing what students placed value and emphasis on when developing capabilities for leading sustainability transformations: (1) engaging with complex ‘in-between’ sustainability challenges in society with stakeholders across sectors and perspectives; (2) navigating purposeful and transformative change via backcasting; and (3) ‘whole-person’ learning from the inside-out as an identity-shaping process, guided by personal values.
Originality – This paper delineates and discusses important learning mechanisms and outcomes when students act as co-creators of knowledge in a sustainability-oriented educational initiative, working with authentic challenges together with societal actors.
Practical implications – The findings of this paper can inform the design, development, evaluation, and comparison of similar educational initiatives across institutions, while leaving room for contextual negotiation and adjustment.
Education for sustainable development (ESD)
Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory, Physical Resource Theory 2
Chalmers, Communication and Learning in Science, Engineering Education Research - EER (Chalmers)
Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory
International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education
1467-6370 (ISSN)Vol. 22 1
The Chalmers University Foundation, 2016-01-01 -- 2019-12-31.
Other Engineering and Technologies
Other Natural Sciences
Innovation and entrepreneurship
Areas of Advance
Building Futures (2010-2018)
Learning and teaching