Conditions for Transformative Learning for Sustainable Development: A Theoretical Review and Approach

Last changed: 14 January 2019

Continued unsustainability and surpassed planetary boundaries require not only scientific and technological advances, but deep and enduring social and cultural changes. The purpose of this article is to contribute a theoretical approach to understand conditions and constraints for societal change towards sustainable development. In order to break with unsustainable norms, habits, practices, and structures, there is a need for learning for transformation, not only adaption.

Article: Conditions for Transformative Learning for Sustainable Development: A Theoretical Review and Approach

Writers: Magnus Boström, Erik Andersson, Monika Berg, Karin Gustafsson, Eva Gustavsson, Erik Hysing, Rolf Lidskog, Erik Löfmarck, Maria Ojala, Jan Olsson, Benedict E. Singleton, Sebastian Svenberg, Ylva Uggla and Johan Öhman

Reference: Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4479; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124479

 

Methods and results

Based on a critical literature review within the field of learning for sustainable development, the article develops the concept of transformative learning: integrating three additional dimensions—Institutional Structures, Social Practices, and Conflict Perspectives. This approach acknowledges conflicts on macro, meso, and micro levels, as well as structural and cultural constraints. It contends that transformative learning is processual, interactional, long-term, and cumbersome, taking place within and transcending existing institutions and social practices. The article adopts an interdisciplinary perspective that acknowledges the importance of transformative learning in order to deal with global sustainability problems, acknowledging the conflicts involved in such transformation.

Practical relevance

As a key dimension of sustainable development, efforts to protect biodiversity are likely to benefit from incorporating a transformative learning approach.

The article argues that a better approach to learning is required in order to meet sustainability challenges. In order to break with unsustainable norms, habits, practices, and structures, there is a need for learning for transformation, not only adaption, whilst also acknowledging the societal and personal conflicts involved in such transformation. This is of great relevance for any efforts to confront sustainability,

Transformative learning applies at all social scales, including communities, organizations, and individuals. The article is relevant to academics, policy-makers and practitioners involved in sustainability issues.


Contact

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