Instructional strategies to educate for sustainability in technology assessment

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Engineering Education, 2007, 23 (2), pp. 201 - 208
Issue Date:
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There have been widespread calls for the types of action that will create a sustainable society. As a response, sustainable development criteria have been incorporated into undergraduate engineering accreditation requirements. Engineering education is also responding, with sustainable development knowledge and skills being increasingly integrated into the curriculum at both a course and subject level. However, there has been less focus on the type of instructional strategies needed to achieve these learning outcomes. A focus on learning strategies is necessary to create the integrated and interdisciplinary perspective required for sustainability education. Active learning strategies, which use methods that can accommodate conceptually and practically diverse data and divergent epistemologies are needed. Roleplay-simulation, online debates and scenario building are active, participatory instructional strategies. These methods were applied in a subject about Technology Assessment within the context of exploring issues about science, technology and society. These methods were found to be effective for developing and demonstrating understandings about the multiple dimensions (e.g. social, technical, environmental, economic, political) of complex engineering activities. These active and participatory learning methods have a clear place in the engineering curriculum if the transformation in thinking, values and actions required for a move towards sustainability is to be achieved. © 2007 TEMPUS Publications.
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