ELS-31806 Environmental Education and Learning for Sustainability


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work3
Excursion (one day)7
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. ir. AEJ Wals
MSc. L Huijgen
Lecturer(s)MSc. L Huijgen
prof. dr. ir. AEJ Wals
dr. VC Tassone
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. AEJ Wals

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Some background in social sciences is recommended.

Continuation courses:

ELS-32806 Teaching, Learning and Capacity Building for Sustainable Development.


Education and learning, citizen participation and whole system innovations are considered important tools in developing people's environmental and sustainability interests, concerns and competences, but also to improve the performance of people, organizations and systems in transitioning towards sustainable living and ecological mindfulness. This course enables students to actively engage with critical issues in designing an appropriate environmental and sustainability education programme or activity, using a variety of learning and community engagement approaches. During the course students explore the instrumental and the emancipatory use of education, learning, communication, multi-stakeholder participation and whole system re-design. Both perspectives will be explored, related, challenged and illustrated by practical examples from multiple contexts.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand the role of education and learning in environmental policy making, sustainability transitions, stimulating awareness, action and a change in lifestyle, connecting people with the natural world, and other sustainability-oriented learning initiatives;
- develop and critique an environmental/sustainability education strategy or a specific strategy for an environmental innovation/sustainability transition process of their own choice;
- understand a range of evaluative tools and methods available for 'measuring' the impact of the strategies used and the activities employed, as well as an understanding of when to use them.


Students will be exposed to the design, implementation and evaluation of a public environmental/sustainability awareness campaign, a community-based social learning project, and a series of education for sustainable living and learning activities for both formal (i.e. school- and university based) and non-formal (i.e. community-based) education settings. They will visit local environmental and sustainability education practices (i.e. an excursion to a sustainable neighbourhood, but also to a place-based linking with nature program). Furthermore, in small groups, they will design their own sustainability environmental education/learning activity focusing on a topic and a context of their own choosing. Finally, in pairs they will zoom in on one of the chapters of the provided course literature with the aim to prepare a short activity for the whole class that communicates the essence of this chapter in an engaging way.  These activities take place in the so-called 'Fish Bowl Impulse sessions' where immediate feedback is provided by their peers.


The grade will be based on the quality of the students group work and design-case report (50%); active participation in the excursions and lecture sessions (10%); active participation in the Fish Bowl sessions (20%) and a final reflective assignment (20%).


Literature will be provided digitally.

Restricted Optional for: MOAOrganic AgricultureMScB: Spec. B - Sustainable Food Systems6WD
MESEnvironmental SciencesMSc6WD
MESEnvironmental SciencesMSc6WD