Student’s perspectives on Education for Sustainable Development in a problem based learning environment

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In a society characterized by fast technological advances and increasing pressure on economic, ecological as well as social systems, it is important to educate engineers with a broader, reflective and sustainable perspective in alignment with their professional practice. This poses challenges to most engineering programmes, and scholars argue that a paradigm shift is needed to developing engineering education (EE) to embrace education for sustainable development (ESD). However, some of the more innovative pedagogies as for example problem based and project organised learning (PBL) already seem to bring EE on the right trajectory to ESD. For example, the pedagogical recommendations for ESD include active and student-centred learning, which are two of the basic principles of PBL. Some engineering educational systems have already implemented PBL and the question is whether engineering students at these PBL institutions experience the strength of this pedagogy when being educated for sustainability. This paper aims to investigate how students perceive and integrate ESD in a PBL environment. Results exemplify how PBL moves beyond awareness about sustainability as the problem based learning model encourage students to contextualise engineering problems and solutions and apply knowledge about sustainability in real life contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRe-Thinking the Engineer
PublisherEngineering Education for Sustainable Development 2013, University of Cambridge, UK
Publication date2013
Article number33
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventEnglish: Rethinking the Engineer - Robinson College, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Duration: 22 Sep 201325 Sep 2013
Conference number: 6th


LocationRobinson College
CountryUnited Kingdom


  • Problem Based Learning
  • Engineering Education for Sustainable Development
  • Students' perspectives

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