ECS-32806 Teaching, Learning and Capacity Building for Sustainable Development


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper1
Independent study
Course coordinator(s)ir. ing. HJ Eppink
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. C Oonk
dr. VC Tassone
ir. ing. HJ Eppink
dr. JTM Gulikers
prof. dr. ir. AEJ Wals
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. AEJ Wals

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

ECS-31806 Environmental Education and Learning for Sustainability


Wageningen University graduates tend to enter a professional career that requires them to articulate, translate and share the knowledge they developed, and will continue to develop, in a wide range of societal contexts. Many of them will work in educational settings (e.g. in universities, colleges and vocational education and training centres) or in multi-stakeholder community and/or private sector-oriented settings where making complex scientific knowledge understandable and accessible to multiple audiences is crucial to have impact in society.
This course will enable you to develop the capacity to transfer and co-create knowledge in - depending on where you see yourself going after graduation - formal, non-formal and informal education and training settings. You will learn how to make scientific knowledge meaningful and accessible to an 'audience' of your own choosing, bearing in mind socio-cultural differences in what constitutes knowledge, teaching, learning, and the role of science in society.
Particular attention will be given to sustainable development as an example of a complex and even 'wicked' problem that poses special challenges for teaching, learning, and capacity building. Sustainable development can be viewed as an urgent but 'inevitably ill-defined' topic that many Wageningen University students are engaged in, in one way or another. How do you make such a problem understandable and meaningful when there are differences within science itself as to what is going on and what needs to be done? To complicate things further, in the digital age information about sustainable development is everywhere and can be accessed by almost anyone, but who to trust and how to make sense of it? This course has been designed as a 'learning laboratory' where you design and test your own educational intervention. During the course a number of questions will be addressed: (1) What kinds of competences are needed to deal with the complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity that characterize sustainable development issues? (2) How do we design educational courses and trainings that can help different societal groups to develop these competences and to engage meaningfully in sustainable development-related challenges? (3) What is the role of emerging information and communication technologies and social media in supporting teaching, learning and societal engagement in the context of sustainable development? (4) How to take into account socio-cultural differences in the way teaching, learning, education, and the relationship between science and society are perceived?

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to:
- know basic teaching-, learning- and capacity-building theories and how they can be applied in advancing people's understanding of sustainable development-related problems/challenges;
- be able to understand the key challenges of teaching, learning, and capacity-building in relation to a 'wicked' problem such as sustainable development in formal education settings (e.g. in higher education) and non-formal or informal settings (e.g. in multi-stakeholder community and/or private sector oriented settings);
- be able to understand the socio-cultural differences in the way different cultures perceive teaching, learning, education and the relationship between science and society, and the way these differences might influence the possibilities for teaching, learning and capacity-building for sustainable development;
- be able to make a sustainable development-related topic accessible to an audience or audiences of their own choosing by designing a module, course, training, blog or format of their own choice;
- possess a variety of didactic skills and basic educational design skills and can articulate and justify corresponding theoretical underpinnings from the education and learning sciences;
- be able to articulate and justify their choice of using or not using ICTs and social media in their self-designed educational intervention.


-practical training sessions on teaching methods relevant for learning for and about sustainable development;
-interactive tutorials on sustainable development competence and practicing didactic skills for teaching, learning and capacity-building for sustainable development;
-designing course materials/modules/units for learning and capacity-building for sustainable development depending on a student's own interest/preference.


Assessment will be based on:
- the quality of developed educational design material (60%);
- the mastery of didactic skills (30%);
- active participation and peer feedback (10%).
For all three parts a minimum mark of 5.5 is required.


Literature will be provided through Black Board.

Restricted Optional for: MESEnvironmental SciencesMSc6WD