Project-based learning in education for sustainable development: A case study of graduate planning students

Yael Teff-Seker, Michelle Eva Portman, Keren Kaplan-Mintz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Urban planning can serve a vital role in meeting the goals of education for sustainable development (ESD); it could potentially provide future planners with the environmental considerations necessary to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This article presents findings from a quantitative study of planning students' experiences with Project- and Problem-Based Learning (PPBL). Graduate planning students in an environmental planning class were divided into two groups according to their course assignment, PPBL or non-PPBL, and given pre- and post-questionnaires, with questions to grade statements on environmental attitudes and behaviors. PPBL students reported a statistically significant change in environmental behavior involving others, while neither behavior nor attitudes changed significantly for students in the control group. Then, semi-open interviews were conducted with 11 of the students 3 years later. The interviews indicate that PPBL students remembered more content related to their assignments and felt they received more types of planning experiences and tools than those in the control group.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCase Studies in the Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - 31 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank the MarCoast Ecosystem Integration Lab ( for partial funding of this research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the Regents of the University of California.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (all)
  • Education
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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