Sustainability Competence-Based Engineering Education at Higher Education Institutions: Introducing the Design for a Modularized “Sustainability Business Economics Lab”

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In September 2015, all United Nations member states agreed to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SD) and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Higher education institutions (HEIs) play crucial role in the creation of a more sustainable society. HEIs have significant economic, environmental and societal impacts through their core activities of education, research, outreach and operations, and stakeholders expect HEIs to carry out these activities sustainably. Given the important role of competences in the current context of globalization and sustainability, HEIs have the responsibility to enable students to develop the necessary skills that prepare them for working life and enhance their employability in the labour market. Literature point out the alarming deficit of mindfulness, sustainability literacy, universal values concerning nature and fellow humans and system thinking, identified when analyzing undergraduate students. Furthermore, the high relevance of the integration of SD into courses within the field of engineering and operations management is emphasized. Thus, sustainability fundamentals should be part of the future engineer’s life and there is a need to improve engineering education by encouraging students to rethink their professional roles and to understand the necessity for creating value for all stakeholders. HEIs are forced to provide professional study programs by guaranteeing up-to-date methodological-didactic education and training. To address these challenges, this paper introduces a competence-based modularized “Sustainability Business Economics Lab (SBEL)”. This lab aims to foster the development of sustainability competence, ultimately enabling engineering as well as industrial management students to combine sustainability issues with their technical and economic competences and to work critically, analytically and sustainably on contemporary problems. The methodological approach when designing the SBEL encompasses competence-based education and training based on a modularized program architecture consisting of three modules (online, presence and transfer phase) supported by digital teaching and learning formats. The three modules are developed partially following the models of collaborative learning that are commonly used in engineering and management courses at HEIs. This paper contributes to the teaching practice in the field of operations management by providing lecturers an exemplary didactic concept of a how a laboratory/a course targeting at the development of sustainability competences can be specifically structured, conducted and evaluated. Furthermore, the design of the three-module SBEL presented is structured according to proven didactic guidelines and, thanks to the modularized concept, spans the arc from book knowledge to the transfer phase.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEDULEARN22 Proceedings
PublisherInternational Academy of Technology, Education and Development
ISBN (Electronic)978-84-09-42484-9
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Event14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies: EDULEARN 2022 - Palma, Spain
Duration: 4 Jul 20226 Jul 2022


Conference14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Abbreviated titleEDULEARN22

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