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Education for SD

Education for SD

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Education for sustainability as a transformative learning process: apedagogical experiment in EcoDesign doctoral education
Ola Bergea˚
, Reine Karlsson
*, Anna Hedlund-A˚stro¨m
,Per Jacobsson
, Conrad Luttropp
 Dalarna University, Department of Mathematics, Science and Engineering
Environmental Engineering, SE 781 88 Borla¨nge, Sweden
University of Kalmar, Department of Technology, SE 391 82 Kalmar, Sweden
The Royal institute of Technology, Department of Machine Design, Division of Engineering Design, SE 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
The Royal institute of Technology, Centre for Environmental Science (CMV), 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
Accepted 11 November 2005
The paper presents details about a doctoral-level EcoDesign course, as an education for sustainable development experience, in relation topedagogic theory. The aim was to promote transformative learning in order to facilitate more productive use of environmental knowledge inproduct and business development. The course included interdisciplinary dialogue founded in real world experiences presented by lecturersfrom business, government and NGOs, as well as study visits and group work on the drafting of journal papers. The key pedagogical objectivewas to widen the perspective to embrace more humanly engaging concerns and to enhance the student’s overall understanding about relationsbetween sustainable development priorities and product design practices.
2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Design for sustainable development; Engineering; Didactics; Critical reflection; Doctoral Education in Eco-Product Design
1. Introduction
The awareness of the increasing erosion of the eco-system’sability to function with the increasing anthropogenic burdensbeing placed upon it is causing increasing societal concern.The need for development of new knowledge and a moreeffective dissemination and usage of ‘‘old’’ and tacit knowledgemeans that the sustainability challenges pose new demandsand opportunities for educators and researchers, worldwide.The EcoDesign subject area has now been evolving andmaturing for some decades. However, the actual industrial ap-plication of EcoDesign methods is still rather limited. To makesomething more substantial happen, it is not sufficient to onlyapply technical engineering knowledge as a way to reduce en-vironmental loads, which tends to be done rather late in theproduct development processes. There is a need for rethinkingand transformative learning processes and dialogues. Thispaper describes such an educational endeavor, a doctoralEcoDesign course designed to advance interdisciplinaryunderstanding and proactive integrated application of environ-mentally related knowledge in product design.The environmental aspects of the human sustainabilitychallenges should not be studied in isolation. At one endthis relates to the theory of knowledge
epistemology, whichis concerned with the nature, sources and limits of knowledge.In
The web of life
[1],Capra states that the various sustainabil-ity considerations ‘‘must be seen as just different facets of onesingle crisis, which is largely a crisis of perception’’. Accord-ing to Capra; the need for a new paradigm ‘‘implies that epis-temology
understanding of the process of knowing
hasto be included explicitly in the description of natural
* Corresponding author. Tel.:
46 480 446 326; fax:
46 480 446 330.
 E-mail addresses:
ola.bergea@telia.com(O. Bergea˚),reine.karlsson@hik.se(R. Karlsson),hedlund@md.kth.se(A. Hedlund-A˚stro¨m),perjac@admin.kth.se(P. Jacobsson),conrad@md.kth.se(C. Luttropp).0959-6526/$ - see front matter
2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2005.11.020
Journal of Cleaner Production xx (2006) 1
phenomena.’’ In the authors’ perception, this perspective, to-gether with personal engagement, is highly relevant in the de-velopment of education for sustainable development.The field of EcoDesign has evolved as a response to articula-tionofenvironmentalchallengestoindustryandbusinesses.Thefield of required knowledge has expanded from environmentalanalysis, related to biology and ecology to more synthesizingactivities like Eco-product development and sustainabilityorientedbusinessmanagement.Today,therearenumeroustoolsfor EcoDesign but they are not adequately utilized in mostcompanies’ product and service development activities.In 1998, Sweden’s largest technical university, the RoyalInstitute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, in cooperationwith the Ma¨lardalen University and the University of Kalmardeveloped a
Doctoral Forum for Sustainability-driven Devel-opment of Technology and Society
, funded by the A˚ngpanne-fo¨reningen research council. The Forum was comprised of a network of researchers, doctoral students and professionalsfrom companies with an interest in sustainable development.The purpose of the Doctoral Forum was to support sustainabil-ity oriented educational developments, primarily in engineer-ing. Its main activity now was to organize doctoral courses.This paper takes one of the Forums doctoral courses,‘‘EcoDesign
Product Design for Sustainability’’ as a startingpoint. The course was conducted in 2002 and involved elevenstudents from six Swedish universities. The goal of the coursewas to study EcoDesign concepts, processes and products sci-entifically from a broad and multidisciplinary perspective tostimulate each student to widen his/her understanding abouthis/her respective subject area and to strengthen the commonconceptual basis for dialogue (see further Section3.1) The stu-dents had different educational and research backgrounds, al-though most were majoring in engineering. The course wasmainly based upon dialogue, field trips and drafting of peer re-viewed journal papers, with the objective that the students andacademic/industrial seniors should stimulate each other in newways of thinking in order to create a broader and more coher-ent view of EcoDesign in relation to sustainable developmentas well as business development priorities. From a wider per-spective, such foci upon EcoDesign are also central aspects of the UN decade of Education for Sustainable Development thatwill run from January 2005 to December 2014[2].The authors of this article have been involved in the courseas doctoral students, educators and as a manager for the Doc-toral Forum that organized the course. This paper describes thecourse and the authors’ experiences. It then discusses the con-cept of EcoDesign and how our observations from the courserelate to how pedagogic theories may be useful in further de-veloping EcoDesign education. The main foci are:I. What kinds of education are needed to enable more pro-ductive development and utilization of EcoDesign knowl-edge, concepts, approaches and tools in product andbusiness development?II. How can EcoDesign education support integration and utili-zation of EcoDesign methods and tools in the core of a com-pany’s mainstream product/service development processes?III. What pedagogical concepts and approaches can be used tofurther improve EcoDesign education and training?The following sections begin by presenting the EcoDesigncourse and then return to discussions related to the above foci.Finally, the summary suggestions regarding advancement of ‘ed-ucation for sustainable development’’ are presented in Section 7.
2. The course
The course ‘‘EcoDesign
Product Design for Sustainabil-ity’’, for PhD students, was designed to provide an opportunityto develop the conceptual framework of EcoDesign to enablethe students to be more constructive, integrative and innova-tive in their work in integrating environmental, social, andeconomic factors into the companies product design processes.The basic objective was to support the students in building aninterdisciplinary framing for a
broad overview
of EcoDesignconcepts, tools, methods and to
explore the business prospects
of EcoDesign from the vantage point of ‘Making EcoDesignreally happen in companies.’ The course activities were alsodesigned to enhance the
understanding and knowledge of how a peer review process
is performed (SeeFig. 1).
 2.1. The elements of the course 2.1.1. Meetings
The course consisted of four meetings, 5, 3, 2 and 1 day inlength, respectively. All students were required to do literaturestudies and to work with the drafting and review of papers, aswell as to have student-student and student-faculty interactionsbetween these meetings.
 2.1.2. Three elements
The course program, presented inFig. 2, had three mainelements:1. Lectures on various aspects of EcoDesign, in a sustainabledevelopment perspective and including quality of life con-siderations, aiming to stimulate reflection and student/fac-ulty dialogue.2. A three day study trip, on a comfortable bus, designed tostrengthen the personal relationships between the students.
To give a broad overview of EcoDesignTo explore the business prospects of EcoDesign
To explore tools and methods that are present and toposition these in a generic product development contextTo enhance understanding and knowledge of how a peerreview process is carried out
Fig. 1. The main objectives of the doctoral EcoDesign course, as presented inthe course invitation.
O. Bergea˚ et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xx (2006) 1
The students had the benefit of approximately eighteenhours together with the two course-leaders on the bus.The course’s thought provoking inputs were designed toserve as starting points for personally challenging dia-logues. The bus had extra seats that enabled flexible dis-cussions in different groups. The advantage of being onthe bus was that the social processes were not disturbedby people leaving or entering during the activities.3. The students were organized into small groups, togetherwith senior researchers and each group was required towrite a scientific paper, aiming for a publishable quality.During the course this aim advanced to an idea of a specialissue containing the articles produced within the course.The topics that were selected for the papers covereda broad range of Eco-Design facets.
 2.1.3. Course content 
The study-visits and lecturers are listed inFig. 2. Out of twenty different activities, four focused on the writing of aca-demic papers, three were study visits and the remaining thir-teen were lectures and presentations. In addition there wereseveral seminars on the paper drafts, discussions and socialactivities. Most of the lecturers were academics (8) or frombusiness (7). There was one lecturer from the governmentand one from the church. The course dealt with wider issuesthan eco-product development concepts, approaches and toolsto implement environmental considerations. The lecturersranged over various academic disciplines of management,economy, engineering, social sciences and natural sciences.The most discussed societal system was the corporate, socialand business system. Many of the lectures related to technicalconsiderations, but technology was always contextualizedwithin the social, ecological and economic framework of sus-tainable development.One of the lecturers most frequently mentioned in the eval-uations was the Dean of Stockholm Cathedral, Lennart Koski-nen. He discussed the importance of existential issues; thedesire to find a meaning of life and the human side of sustain-ability considerations. He shared some of his experienceswhile working as a consultant in ethical and existential issueswith companies like Nokia and Ericsson. A graffiti citation:‘‘
We have everything, but that is all we have!
’’ was used to il-lustrate how the difference between welfare and wellbeing canbe experienced. Koskinen also discussed how companies canwork with ethics, culture and environmental awareness for
Study visits
Ragn-Sells Electronicrecycling, Lövsta, Stockholm
SAKAB Wastetreatment facility, Kumla, Örebro
ECRIS and JB Recycling inJönköping
Lectures on Industrial perspective on EcoDesign
Magnus Enell, Head of Sustainable Development, ITT Flygt: WhyITTis working withsustainable development
Marianne Barner, Head ofPR & Communications, IKEAInternational:Tocontributetoabetterdaily living for the many people
C-O Nevén, ASSESS AB and chairman in the SwedishISO delegationfor ISO 14040: ISOas a baseto develop environmental work
MariaMunther, Ecoplan: Ecodesign as a part ina value chain
Bengt Steen, professor Environmental Science:To make LCA-data understandable
Jan Strömblad, former head for ABB Sustainability Affairs:ABB'sSustainabilityManagement Program
RolfMöller,arch SAR and MDfor RÄTA LINJEN Architects AB,Kalmar: To startbuilding for a sustainable life style
Professor Karl-Henrik Robert, University of Blekinge, and The Natural Step: EcoDesignin Strategiesfor Sustainable Development
Lectures on Societal perspective on EcoDesign
LennartKoskinen, dean of Stockholm Cathedral: The goodlife
EvaBlixt,Ministryof TradeandIndustry: The role of the businessworldinsustainablegrowth
Professor Don Huisingh: The Keyroleof EcoDesign in Sustainable Development
Professor ReineKarlssonand professor Conrad Luttropp: Whatis EcoDesign?
Christer Sanne senior researcher anddocent at Department of Infrastructure and Planning,KTH: Sustainable consumption.
Lectureson the writingprocess
StellanWelin, Docent in theoreticalphilosophy and guest teacher at SahlgrenskaAkademin: How is the writing process performed and what isimportanttothink about?
Professor emeritus Ingemar Grenthe:Whatis Peer Review?
Professor Don Huisingh:Thejourney from thoughtsandideas to publication in a peerreviewed journal
Sandra Brunsberg, language teacher atKTH, “Englishas a scientificwriting language
Fig. 2. Study-visits, lectures and lecturers in the EcoDesign course. In addition to this list the course also included seminars, drafting and review of papers andsocial activities.
O. Bergea˚ et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xx (2006) 1

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