Purpose: Problem-based learning (PBL) has been suggested as an approach to education for sustainable development (ESD); however, the integration of interdisciplinarity is continuously challenged as it requires transfer and collaboration across disciplinary boundaries, as well as integration into an often already-overflowing curriculum. Even in formalized PBL universities emphasizing student responsibility for defining relevant problems, envisioning sustainable solutions and developing transversal competences, interdisciplinary collaboration is still often “relocated” to extra-curricular activities. This paper aims to explore Aalborg University (AAU) Megaprojects as a case for systematically integrating principles of ESD, and particularly interdisciplinarity, into PBL at scale.
Design/methodology/approach: The paper proposes a framework for analysing potentials and challenges concerning interdisciplinary framing and facilitation in large-scale projects based on PBL- and ESD-related research and presents findings from a case study on the first three rounds of megaprojects at AAU in 2019 and 2020.
Findings: The findings indicate that interdisciplinary megaprojects have the potential to motivate students to engage in sustainable development; however, they require systematic framing and guided facilitation, particularly in the early stages, for students to take ownership, prioritize collaboration and see the contribution to and connection between disciplines. They also need prioritization at all institutional levels to succeed as an institutional strategy of ESD.
Originality/value: The paper provides insights into the potentials and challenges of framing and facilitating large-scale megaprojects as an approach to integrate the SDGs and interdisciplinary collaboration into higher education. Hence, it aims to provide new insights, concepts and practices for ESD and PBL for sustainability.
|Journal||International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education (Print Edition)|
|Publication status||Published - 2022|
- Sustainable Development
- Higher Education
- Problem-based learning
- Education for sustainable development
- Interdisciplinary collaboration