Education for sustainability in higher education: A multiple-case study of three courses

Keren Mintz, Tali Tal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Education for sustainability (EfS) in higher education is an emerging specialisation within the general field of EfS. EfS encompasses cognitive, affective and behavioural aspects, and aims at enhancing a variety of learning outcomes in these domains and reaching students from all programmes. One of the main challenges for higher education educators is to design courses in a way that will effectively promote the various learning outcomes of EfS. A central question is how sustainability should be integrated into the curriculum; which topics should be taught and which pedagogies ought to be applied to improve students knowledge, skills and motivation to promote sustainable living. The present study aimed to contribute to the knowledge about students learning outcomes yielded by different designs of EfS courses. This multiple-case study of three courses used a mixed-methods design. For each course, we identified its characteristics and analysed students self-reported learning outcomes. We found that: (1) a course with a higher degree of participatory learning, employing a system approach, promoted the highest and most varied learning outcomes; (2) the lecture-based course yielded the fewest learning outcomes; and (3) field trips promoted learning outcomes only when accompanied by more advanced pedagogies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-149
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • education for sustainability
  • higher education
  • learning outcomes
  • pedagogy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)


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