Sustainability Education and Problem-Based Learning

‘The environment’ and ‘sustainability’ are major issues of importance for government, HEFCE and universities. All universities now include such considerations in their strategic planning and many have made a commitment to improving the 'sustainability literacy' of their students. 

Problem-based learning (PBL) is a collaborative and participatory student centred approach to teaching and learning based on group work and problem exploration. PBL has been found to be highly effective at enabling deep and transformative student learning, as well as helping to develop a range of employability skills. This project explores a 'hybrid' approach to PBL through using a range of class-based teaching methods and blended learning techniques; delivering a mode of PBL which is less resource intensive and more flexible than traditional PBL and which is suitable for sustainability education. During Hybrid-PBL, students:

  • Act as professionals with an emphasis on working in interdisciplinary teams;
  • Develop team working, project management and communication skills;
  • Investigate open-ended ('wicked') real-world problems;
  • Think critically, creatively and devise entrepreneurial problem solutions;
  • Utilize online technologies and social media as part of learning and communication with fellow students and staff.

This project has been delivered through one carefully crafted sustainability module at each of the partner universities. The scalability of our approach is a key issue.

We aim to develop pedagogical models and educational resources suitable for large class sizes, which will be available to students across all disciplines at all levels within the universities. We aim to provide a transformative sustainability education for all.

What is Problem-Based Learning?

More information about problem-based learning. PBL Learn More

Why use Problem-Based Learning for Sustainability Education?

More information about why problem-based learning is an effective learning strategy for sustainability education. PBL/ESD Learn More

How can we use ICT within Problem-Based Learning?

Details about using online communication and social media in PBL. PBL/ICT Learn More