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Education for sustainability as a transformative learning process: a pedagogical experiment in EcoDesign doctoral education
˚ ¨ ˚ Ola Bergea a, Reine Karlsson b,*, Anna Hedlund-Astrom c, d c Per Jacobsson , Conrad Luttropp
a

Dalarna University, Department of Mathematics, Science and Engineering e Environmental Engineering, SE 781 88 Borlange, Sweden ¨ b University of Kalmar, Department of Technology, SE 391 82 Kalmar, Sweden c The Royal institute of Technology, Department of Machine Design, Division of Engineering Design, SE 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden d The Royal institute of Technology, Centre for Environmental Science (CMV), 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden Accepted 11 November 2005

Abstract The paper presents details about a doctoral-level EcoDesign course, as an education for sustainable development experience, in relation to pedagogic theory. The aim was to promote transformative learning in order to facilitate more productive use of environmental knowledge in product and business development. The course included interdisciplinary dialogue founded in real world experiences presented by lecturers from business, government and NGOs, as well as study visits and group work on the drafting of journal papers. The key pedagogical objective was to widen the perspective to embrace more humanly engaging concerns and to enhance the student’s overall understanding about relations between sustainable development priorities and product design practices. Ó 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: 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’s ability to function with the increasing anthropogenic burdens being placed upon it is causing increasing societal concern. The need for development of new knowledge and a more effective dissemination and usage of ‘‘old’’ and tacit knowledge means that the sustainability challenges pose new demands and opportunities for educators and researchers, worldwide. The EcoDesign subject area has now been evolving and maturing for some decades. However, the actual industrial application of EcoDesign methods is still rather limited. To make something more substantial happen, it is not sufficient to only
* Corresponding author. Tel.: þ46 480 446 326; fax: þ46 480 446 330. ˚ E-mail addresses: ola.bergea@telia.com (O. Bergea), reine.karlsson@hik.se ˚ ¨ (R. Karlsson), hedlund@md.kth.se (A. Hedlund-Astrom), perjac@admin.kth.se (P. Jacobsson), conrad@md.kth.se (C. Luttropp). 0959-6526/$ - see front matter Ó 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2005.11.020

apply technical engineering knowledge as a way to reduce environmental loads, which tends to be done rather late in the product development processes. There is a need for rethinking and transformative learning processes and dialogues. This paper describes such an educational endeavor, a doctoral EcoDesign course designed to advance interdisciplinary understanding and proactive integrated application of environmentally related knowledge in product design. The environmental aspects of the human sustainability challenges should not be studied in isolation. At one end this relates to the theory of knowledge e epistemology, which is concerned with the nature, sources and limits of knowledge. In The web of life [1], Capra states that the various sustainability considerations ‘‘must be seen as just different facets of one single crisis, which is largely a crisis of perception’’. According to Capra; the need for a new paradigm ‘‘implies that epistemology e understanding of the process of knowing e has to be included explicitly in the description of natural

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phenomena.’’ In the authors’ perception, this perspective, together with personal engagement, is highly relevant in the development of education for sustainable development. The field of EcoDesign has evolved as a response to articulation of environmental challenges to industry and businesses. The field of required knowledge has expanded from environmental analysis, related to biology and ecology to more synthesizing activities like Eco-product development and sustainability oriented business management. Today, there are numerous tools for EcoDesign but they are not adequately utilized in most companies’ product and service development activities. In 1998, Sweden’s largest technical university, the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, in cooperation with the Malardalen University and the University of Kalmar ¨ developed a Doctoral Forum for Sustainability-driven Devel˚ opment of Technology and Society, funded by the Angpanneforeningen research council. The Forum was comprised of ¨ a network of researchers, doctoral students and professionals from companies with an interest in sustainable development. The purpose of the Doctoral Forum was to support sustainability oriented educational developments, primarily in engineering. Its main activity now was to organize doctoral courses. This paper takes one of the Forum’s doctoral courses, ‘‘EcoDesign e Product Design for Sustainability’’ as a starting point. The course was conducted in 2002 and involved eleven students from six Swedish universities. The goal of the course was to study EcoDesign concepts, processes and products scientifically from a broad and multidisciplinary perspective to stimulate each student to widen his/her understanding about his/her respective subject area and to strengthen the common conceptual basis for dialogue (see further Section 3.1) The students had different educational and research backgrounds, although most were majoring in engineering. The course was mainly based upon dialogue, field trips and drafting of peer reviewed journal papers, with the objective that the students and academic/industrial seniors should stimulate each other in new ways of thinking in order to create a broader and more coherent view of EcoDesign in relation to sustainable development as well as business development priorities. From a wider perspective, such foci upon EcoDesign are also central aspects of the UN decade of Education for Sustainable Development that will run from January 2005 to December 2014 [2]. The authors of this article have been involved in the course as doctoral students, educators and as a manager for the Doctoral Forum that organized the course. This paper describes the course and the authors’ experiences. It then discusses the concept of EcoDesign and how our observations from the course relate to how pedagogic theories may be useful in further developing EcoDesign education. The main foci are: I. What kinds of education are needed to enable more productive development and utilization of EcoDesign knowledge, concepts, approaches and tools in product and business development? II. How can EcoDesign education support integration and utilization of EcoDesign methods and tools in the core of a company’s mainstream product/service development processes?

III. What pedagogical concepts and approaches can be used to further improve EcoDesign education and training? The following sections begin by presenting the EcoDesign course and then return to discussions related to the above foci. Finally, the summary suggestions regarding advancement of ‘‘education for sustainable development’’ are presented in Section 7. 2. The course The course ‘‘EcoDesign e Product Design for Sustainability’’, for PhD students, was designed to provide an opportunity to develop the conceptual framework of EcoDesign to enable the students to be more constructive, integrative and innovative in their work in integrating environmental, social, and economic factors into the companies product design processes. The basic objective was to support the students in building an interdisciplinary framing for a broad overview of EcoDesign concepts, tools, methods and to explore the business prospects of EcoDesign from the vantage point of ‘Making EcoDesign really happen in companies.’ The course activities were also designed to enhance the understanding and knowledge of how a peer review process is performed (See Fig. 1). 2.1. The elements of the course 2.1.1. Meetings The course consisted of four meetings, 5, 3, 2 and 1 day in length, respectively. All students were required to do literature studies and to work with the drafting and review of papers, as well as to have student-student and student-faculty interactions between these meetings. 2.1.2. Three elements The course program, presented in Fig. 2, had three main elements: 1. Lectures on various aspects of EcoDesign, in a sustainable development perspective and including quality of life considerations, aiming to stimulate reflection and student/faculty dialogue. 2. A three day study trip, on a comfortable bus, designed to strengthen the personal relationships between the students.

To give a broad overview of EcoDesign

To explore the business prospects of EcoDesign
To explore tools and methods that are present and to position these in a generic product development context To enhance understanding and knowledge of how a peer review process is carried out
Fig. 1. The main objectives of the doctoral EcoDesign course, as presented in the course invitation.

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Study visits • Ragn-Sells Electronic recycling, Lövsta, Stockholm • SAKAB Waste treatment facility, Kumla, Örebro • ECRIS and JB Recycling in Jönköping Lectures on Industrial perspective on EcoDesign • Magnus Enell, Head of Sustainable Development, ITT Flygt: Why ITT is working with sustainable development • Marianne Barner, Head of PR & Communications, IKEA International: To contribute to a better daily living for the many people • C-O Nevén, ASSESS AB and chairman in the Swedish I SO delegationfor ISO 14040: ISO as a base to develop environmental work • Maria Munther, Ecoplan: Ecodesign as a part in a value chain • Bengt Steen, professor Environmental Science: To make LCA-data understandable • Jan Strömblad, former head for ABB Sustainability Affairs: ABB's Sustainability Management Program • Rolf Möller, arch SAR and MD for RÄTA LINJEN Architects AB, Kalmar: To start building for a sustainable life style • Professor Karl-Henrik Robert, University of Blekinge, and The Natural Step: EcoDesign in Strategies for Sustainable Development Lectures on Societal perspective on EcoDesign • Lennart Koskinen, dean of Stockholm Cathedral: The goodlife • Eva Blixt, Ministry of Trade and Industry: The role of the business world in sustainable growth • Professor Don Huisingh: The Key role of EcoDesign in Sustainable Development • Professor Reine Karlsson and professor Conrad Luttropp: What is EcoDesign? • Christer Sanne senior researcher and docent at Department of Infrastructure and Planning, KTH: Sustainable consumption. Lectures on the writing process • Stellan Welin, Docent in theoretical philosophy and guest teacher at Sahlgrenska Akademin: How is the writing process performed and what is important to think about? • Professor emeritus Ingemar Grenthe: What is Peer Review? • Professor Don Huisingh: The journey from thoughts and ideas to publication in a peer reviewed journal • Sandra Brunsberg, language teacher at KTH, “English as a scientific writing 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 and social activities.

The students had the benefit of approximately eighteen hours together with the two course-leaders on the bus. The course’s thought provoking inputs were designed to serve as starting points for personally challenging dialogues. The bus had extra seats that enabled flexible discussions in different groups. The advantage of being on the bus was that the social processes were not disturbed by people leaving or entering during the activities. 3. The students were organized into small groups, together with senior researchers and each group was required to write a scientific paper, aiming for a publishable quality. During the course this aim advanced to an idea of a special issue containing the articles produced within the course. The topics that were selected for the papers covered a broad range of Eco-Design facets.

2.1.3. Course content The study-visits and lecturers are listed in Fig. 2. Out of twenty different activities, four focused on the writing of academic papers, three were study visits and the remaining thirteen were lectures and presentations. In addition there were several seminars on the paper drafts, discussions and social

activities. Most of the lecturers were academics (8) or from business (7). There was one lecturer from the government and one from the church. The course dealt with wider issues than eco-product development concepts, approaches and tools to implement environmental considerations. The lecturers ranged over various academic disciplines of management, economy, engineering, social sciences and natural sciences. The most discussed societal system was the corporate, social and business system. Many of the lectures related to technical considerations, but technology was always contextualized within the social, ecological and economic framework of sustainable development. One of the lecturers most frequently mentioned in the evaluations was the Dean of Stockholm Cathedral, Lennart Koskinen. He discussed the importance of existential issues; the desire to find a meaning of life and the human side of sustainability considerations. He shared some of his experiences while working as a consultant in ethical and existential issues with companies like Nokia and Ericsson. A graffiti citation: ‘‘We have everything, but that is all we have!’’ was used to illustrate how the difference between welfare and wellbeing can be experienced. Koskinen also discussed how companies can work with ethics, culture and environmental awareness for

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creating an attractive working environment with energized employees. He stressed that technical projects must include visions about the human and social dimensions of sustainable development. The existential issues were also addressed by associate professor Christer Sanne, Infrastructure and Planning, KTH, who discussed issues related to ‘‘Sustainable Consumption’’. He emphasized that, until now, increased efficiency has been used to increase consumption within the already wealthy nations instead of seeking to ease the negative burdens upon the environment. Sanne presented a scenario of how society could attempt to achieve sustainability by choosing fewer working hours rather than mass-consumption. He suggested this as the best way to decrease CO2 emissions, since the increase in atmospheric CO2 correlates with increasing monetary wealth. Three of the lecturers have central positions in the sustainability work of large Swedish multinational corporations. They presented their companies strategies for sustainable development activities and the drivers for this work. (IKEA e social sustainability, child labor, education, ABB e strategy to implement ecological and social consideration within the corporation, ITT-Flygt e to be attractive to present and future employees, trustworthy to customers and profitable for the owners). 2.1.4. Students and choices of subjects for the writing process The students participating in the course came from different subject areas and were at different stages of their PhD educations. The course had 5 female and 6 male students. They were interested in environmental sciences and their Ph D subjects dealt with product development, LCA, Environmental Management Systems and economic history (one student). The students worked in groups with two students and at least one advisor in each group. In most groups the less experienced student became interested in the more experienced student’s subject area. 3. The objectives of the course 3.1. The pedagogical ideas and goals of the course The vision of this course was to promote collaborative creative research combining different areas in order to achieve a wider perspective and a more effective reduction of the negative environmental burdens that our society is generating. One cornerstone in creative action is to combine different elements of knowledge in new, unexpected ways. True research can be creative and productive when new knowledge is combined with old knowledge from the same or other fields. Indeed, interactions with knowledge and people from other fields have been proven to be very fruitful. However, for most Ph D candidates, the normal, specialized research does not allow time for exploring more than a narrowly focused research area. The educator’s strategy was to promote development of a wider more coherent perspective through interdisciplinary cooperation, as illustrated by the pyramids in Fig. 3. Each pyramid represents one student’s width and depth (height) of knowledge. The

interdisciplinary dialogue stimulated each student to develop a wider understanding about his/her own subject area. The ambition was to enable the students to relate to a wider conceptual framing, as illustrated by the larger circle within the top of the right hand pyramid in Fig. 3C. The larger circle area illustrates a more advanced quality, i.e. an enhanced ability to understand how some specific knowledge, observation and also the total own in depth knowledge in some specific area relates to other kinds of knowledge. In the educators’ ambition with the EcoDesign course, the development of these kinds of abilities is decisive to enable the EcoDesign ‘‘student’’ to, after the education, become a more causative educator and participant in interdisciplinary dialogues. In addition to the course’s explicit goals in Fig. 1 there were also some more tacit goals. a) To introduce such a holistic, sustainability awareness that EcoDesign knowledge can enable more sustainable product, system and business development. This included an objective to build a higher level of awareness about how traditional sustainable development priorities are related to societal aspects and quality of life issues. b) To establish a shared feeling of mutual trust, seeking to achieve something like Habermas, [3] open dialogue; for example the ambition was that the atmosphere should

Fig. 3. Illustration of how interaction with ideas in other disciplines can widen a researcher’s quality of understanding. A) Each pyramid represents one researcher’s width and depth (height) of knowledge. For example, a traditional PhD education can reach a certain performance level, within the fundable time of studies. The height of the two triangles visualizes this. B) By assigning two students from somewhat different subject fields to work with a common paper the educators aimed to widen their understanding. This is shown as a band in the middle of each triangle, and broader crest at the top. Although the height of knowledge remains the same, as in the traditional education, the students can enlarge their ‘‘intellectual volume’’. C) A traditional PhD thesis normally focuses on the core subjects in the top of student’s knowledge pyramid (visualized by the small circle). The interdisciplinary understanding should enable broader reflections with more qualified real life significance. The larger circle in the right hand triangle visualizes such a more mature view on the selected topic.

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not be prestigious. Every participant should have a feeling that it is a common explorative process designed to improve the understanding of new field; by working in a context were there are no stupid remarks or questions, where the simplest question, although maybe seemingly selfevident, might be the most brilliant one. In a way, those ambitions are not new. Actually, for example in Sweden similar ambitions are stated by law in the Higher Education Act [4]. ‘‘Undergraduate education shall, in addition to knowledge and skills, provide the students with a capability of independent and critical judgment, an ability independently to solve problems and an ability to follow the development of knowledge, all within the field covered by the education. The education should also develop the students’ ability to exchange information at a scientific level. Postgraduate studies shall, in addition to what applies to undergraduate education, provide the knowledge and skills necessary to undertake independent research.’’ In this paragraph, it is assumed that undergraduate education shall foster the capability to make independent and critical judgments and to enhance the student’s ability to exchange information at a scientific level. However, according to Olstedt [5], conscious efforts to reach these goals have seldom been made in undergraduate education. In postgraduate (doctoral) studies, however, to approach these goals is crucial for a student’s academic and professional career. The EcoDesign course was an effort to transform such principles into operational methodology for postgraduate studies. 3.2. EcoDesign as the context of the course Another important constituting factor for the design of the course was the concept of EcoDesign. It is necessary to understand the evolving theory in a sustainable development framing and how this context can interplay with the pedagogical ambitions. The course dealt with EcoDesign as an aspect of the product development subject area. Product development is a process starting with ideas on product needs and functions that lead to envisioning and evaluating alternative options to fulfill the product specifications and then ultimately to development, testing, producing and marketing a product or product-service combination. The context relates to attitudinal, procedural and temporal aspects of the product development process; including analyzes of customer needs and desires, the function of the product, technical requirements and constraints, production, logistics and marketing. The field of EcoDesign evolved at the crossroads where the product developers met environmentalists focusing on emissions and depletion of resources. In the late 80’s, the environmental significance of products and product life-cycle management was realized, which confronted product developers with new requirements and expectations from customers,

media and society. A new priority was added. However, environmental problems are complex, so it is not easy for product developers to grasp the environmental information and how to respond to it. To assist product developers, many methods for taking the environment into account have been developed during the latest decade. However, the general impression is that the desired renewal of the mainstream product development practice has not yet been achieved. As Bauman et al describe, in their research survey on green product development [6]: ‘‘When entering a company, metaphorically speaking, through the door of the environmental department, many environmental projects are presented. However, when entering the company through the main entrance, environmental issues seem to be a much smaller concern.’’ They further concluded that there is an excess of tool development and normative suggestions, while linkage between strategic intent and content, concern about the larger context of product development and recognition of system’s perspectives in policymaking is lacking. As the EcoDesign field evolved it was given new names that were more or less synonymous but characterized a widening of the scope and shift in attitudes. During the 1990’s the term green design was replaced by ecological design and later the concept sustainable design was coined [6]. Brezet [7] describes EcoDesign as a product development process in which ‘‘the environment helps to define the direction of design decisions and the environment becomes a copilot in product development.’’ Furthermore, he describes sustainable product design as ‘‘resource, context, and future-oriented product development aimed at providing elementary needs, a better quality of life, equity and environmental harmony’’. In the course’s perspective; the concept EcoDesign is not limited to technical product development. Successful Eco-Design (as well as engineering in general) depends on the understanding of the context. Simon et al. [8] describe EcoDesign as the design of a product, service or system with the aim of minimizing the overall impact on the environment. One conceptual underpinning is to relate to ‘‘Industrial ecology’’ which can be described ‘‘as the multidisciplinary study of industrial and economic systems and their linkages with fundamental natural systems. This system’s perspective includes the entire scope of economic activities, including consumer and producer behavior, and consequent impacts on natural systems at all temporal and spatial scales’’ [9]. EcoDesign is related to a number of different scientific disciplines and also various other kinds of knowledge outside the engineering field. To enable implementation of EcoDesign it is important to facilitate the understanding and use of this wider framing, in the conceptual set-up for EcoDesign, so that the environmental considerations are integrated into the core of the general product and business development processes. Summing up their research survey on green product development, Bauman et al. [6] plead for a systems approach including research in the areas of ‘‘management and social sciences. in order to understand and develop the processes and drivers behind the incorporation of socially desirable issues’’.

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4. The results of the course 4.1. Students’ evaluation of the course Most students expressed very positive opinions about the course. The possibilities to become more acquainted with students and educators from different disciplines and universities through informal meetings during the bus tour, study-visits, classes, group work and meals together were very much appreciated. They also found the mix of lectures, study-visits, discussions and work very interesting and stimulating. In the review after the course; several students specifically mentioned that the article writing and peer review processes of working with a new topic was important and valuable. However, one student questioned if this really was EcoDesign. Several students also pointed out the lack of a review of existing tools for EcoDesign. Evidently, the course title raised expectations in a more engineering direction with a focus on the explicit EcoDesign methods, rather than on the conceptual framework. The objective to publish the student articles was mentioned as demanding and too laborious to achieve within the time frame of the course. The idea to create a ‘‘special issue’’ for a scientific journal with those papers turned out to be infeasible considering the time needed to develop the papers, have them peer reviewed, revised, re-reviewed, re-revised and finally to have all published officially. We found it unrealistic to do this within a single semester. However, that objective was the starting point for the process that led to this special issue which includes two papers that had their starting points within the course. 4.2. Observations in the course Most students did not seem to distinguish between science, engineering and design (see Section 5.2). At one end of the scale they used the terms of science (hypothesis etc.) as if they intended to work deductively to find general patterns and to develop general theories. However, they soon diverted to ‘‘cookbook knowledge’’, i.e. reflections or arguments that they found to be valid in specific contexts. Therefore, it could be argued that the EcoDesign students should be taught to avoid mimicking science in their research. They should learn that in this discipline, no general explanations can be found. Accordingly, they should realize the need to integrate environmental considerations in the engineering and design process, and to understand its limitations. A gradual improvement of these aspects was observed, in the successive versions of the students’ articles. This indicates that they have achieved some reflective learning about the core assumptions of engineering knowledge, particularly as it applies to the EcoDesign field. In the papers dealing with issues related to the social sciences, the students sometimes had problems understanding the limitations of qualitative methods. In some early versions of the student papers, there were many overly pretentious conclusions. These were probably caused by poor understanding of the basic differences between different kinds of research and what kind of conclusions can be drawn from different kinds

of interviews, questionnaires etc. The experiences and observations are further discussed in Section 6. 5. EcoDesign and sustainability in a pedagogic perspective The importance of a holistic perspective and commitment was demonstrated by the lecturers and in the dialogues. To further advance the sustainability education, theories and models to work with complexity and awareness are needed. This section presents some educational theories related to complexity in an engineering and multidisciplinary perspective. Some suggestions on further improvements of EcoDesign courses are presented in Section 7.2. 5.1. Education for sustainability and complexity The challenge of integrating EcoDesign in product development is an example of a complex ill-structured, real-life problem, as is discussed by Hetich [10]. He describes different models for the development of more mature approaches in how to deal with these kinds of problems. One of those models, the King and Kitchener reflective judgment model, is a seven-step process. This starts from considering knowledge as absolute and given, towards recognizing uncertainty, considering knowledge as abstract, contextual and constructed. Finally, stressing that conclusions that are based on interpretations and evaluations that are derived from combinations of different kinds of sources and have to be critically evaluated and re-evaluated. Hetich describes the development of understanding as a journey towards increasing complexity related to cognitive and psychosocial development. The cognitive domain deals with knowledge and development of intellectual skills. For this domain, Bloom [11] has suggested a structure with six major categories that can be thought of as degrees of difficulty. In this taxonomy of educational objectives the level of abstraction ranges from knowledge, comprehension and application to analysis, synthesis and evaluation, see Fig. 4. Sandell et al. [12] have identified three different traditions in the education on environmental and sustainability issues. 1. Fact-based environmental education aims to resolve the environmental problems through research and assembly of information, scientific facts that are used as a basis for teaching.
I. II. III. IV. V. VI. Knowledge Comprehension Application Analysis Synthesis Evaluation

Fig. 4. The six levels in the cognitive domain of Blooms taxonomy [11], for evaluation of university educations, which helps to categorize educational objectives and course contents.

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2. Normative environmental education aims to influence people’s attitudes and behavior. The students are encouraged to develop a priority for environmental issues, often by information about ecological concerns. 3. Education for sustainable development deals with environmental problems as political issues, which should be dealt with democratically. The students are supported to develop their ability to critically assess various alternative perspectives on environmental and developmental problems. In his ‘‘School Didactics and Learning’’ Uljens [13] presents a three level model for developmental considerations. The first level of reflection deals with interpretation of one’s own experiences. At the second level one reflects on the reflected experiences using didactic or other relevant theories. The third, epistemic level; includes critical thinking about and development of those theories. The engineer working with product development and EcoDesign should reflect on what they are doing and about the likely consequences of it. To develop the EcoDesign methodology and application, it is necessary to go beyond the given tools and specifications to reflect on sustainability and development, i.e. to use more generic theories to reflect on the reflected experiences. When those thoughts are concerned with the explicit product development and environmental effects, it is an engineering competence. To be able to introduce EcoDesign in a successful way, in a specific company or as an important mainstream concern, it is relevant to think about the EcoDesign promoter as an ‘‘educator’’. The EcoDesign development leader has to be able to function as a learning coach in the sense that s/ he has a leading conceptual understanding of what s/he wants to use and develop in cooperation with the practitioners. Academic education is by tradition very focused on individual training. However, Yorks and Marsik [14] point out that the idea ‘‘that groups can learn as discrete entities in a way that transcends individual learning within the group,’’ was well established already in the sixties. In 1997, Kasl et al. defined ‘‘team learning as a process through which a group creates knowledge for its members, for itself and for others.’’ It was a central ambition in the EcoDesign course to use the group processes to promote learning and to encourage the creative processes. The successful introduction of EcoDesign seems to require a process of change where both individuals and organizations transform their thinking to be able to handle a higher level of epistemological perspective. These kinds of processes are the focus of transformative learning as developed by Jack Mezirow [15] together with e.g. the above mentioned Yorks and Marsik. To deal with the complexity and uncertainty in environmental issues is a challenge to many organizations. Systems thinking, as developed by e.g. K Boulding, L von Bertalanffy, H Simon, W Churchman, P Checkland and R Ackoff, aims to handle complexity and uncertainty in a coherent manner. Peter Senge highlighted the potential to make use of systems thinking within a learning organization framework in his best seller ‘‘The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning

Organization’’ [16]. He also stressed the importance of commitment and shared values within the organization. Bloom, King, Kitchener, Sandell, Uljens, Mezirow and Senge all have a preference for development of a more complex and epistemologically open perspective on knowledge and education, favoring discussion and dialogue to develop awareness and ability to combine different kinds of knowledge. The idea that critical thinking and dialogue is important seems to be almost generally accepted. However, when Olstedt studied the application of such insights in university educations in 2001 [5] she had difficulty finding any technology courses with such pedagogic methods. Too often the engineering students seemed to limit their ambition to the minimum studies that are needed to pass the examinations. The authors of this paper have also noted that the students’ learning ambitions often focus on operative knowledge and that they tend to think about knowledge as something that should be clear and certain, i.e. the lower levels in Blooms cognitive taxonomy. Karlsson et al. [17] have described the frustration in a group of environmental engineering students when the ‘‘teacher’’ did not provide the anticipated explicit solution, methods and answers. This happened in an undergraduate course where the students were confronted with real life problems in real life project work. This form of challenges, and the related lectures and sometimes provocative discussions made many students understand the need of a system’s perspective. They became interested in critical reflections about how to be effective, how to understand what the best thing to do is in a broader framing, considering the present knowledge in a wider systems perspective.

5.2. Learning in science vs. learning in engineering What is science? One circular answer suggested by Medawar [18] is ‘‘science is what scientists do’’. This leads to questioning what ‘‘scientists do’’. The usual answer is that, what scientists do is characterized by the way scientists acquire knowledge and the nature of that knowledge. The scientist makes use of scientific theory and looks for patterns that can be observed. In principle s/he then forms a hypothesis and makes experiments to test whether it is supported or not supported by the results of the empirical studies. If the hypothesis stands the test the scientist accepts, or continues to accept, the hypothesis as an explanation of the phenomena observed. This explanation is regarded as scientific knowledge, but only tentatively until another, better explanation has been found or until new observations imply that the explanation must be rejected. In a common present perspective, e.g. in accordance with Popper and Kuhn, the aim of natural science is to develop tentative explanations. In the tradition of Aristotle, natural science deals with theoretical knowledge, e.g. to understand the laws that exist whether we know about them or not, while engineering science can be described as practical knowledge dealing with issues where we can choose between more or less desirable alternatives. Ethics, political science and economy were

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some of the areas of practical knowledge that Aristotle himself was engaged in ref. [19]. Today those areas are described as social or human sciences and they have developed a wide range of methods and theories dealing with the nature of human behavior and societal cooperation. Those methods and theories cover a wide range, e.g. from logical positivism (or logical empirics) to hermeneutics and postmodernism. Interpretation and the search for understanding are essential in many fields and that is probably what is most interesting in the EcoDesign-view. The search for human and societal understanding has led to the development of qualitative research methods that are not limited to entities that can be quantified. Engineering knowledge, in contrast to natural science, deals with the design, construction and operation of artifices for the purposes of manipulating the human environment (Pitt, [20]). According to Vincenti [21] the design process encompasses the following levels: 1. Project definition and specifications. This includes the translation of some usually ill-defined requirements into a concrete technical problem, to be dealt with at level 2. 2. Overall design. The layout and main proportions of the artifact are selected to meet the project definition and specifications. 3. Major-component design. The product and project is divided into its major components. 4. Subdivision of the areas of component design, from level 3, according to the engineering discipline required. 5. Further division of the tasks at level 4 into highly specific problems. The design process repeatedly moves up and down and horizontally through the hierarchy. During this process the experiences and solutions of the specific problems are recorded, structured and eventually accumulated in reference works and engineering textbooks. This engineering knowledge might be regarded as ‘‘cookbook knowledge’’ specific for certain engineering tasks and problems. In principle, a scientific explanation, which no longer is the latest theory, is rejected. On the contrary, a ‘‘cookbook’’ of engineering knowledge may be used in other engineering contexts, once it is know from accumulated practice that it works. Thus, the aim of engineering science is developing pragmatic solutions for practical problems. Through the iterative process of design, engineering knowledge is acquired for empirically tested solutions, and then accumulated and refined in professional practice, textbooks and reference works, which gradually become engineering theory. 5.3. Interdisciplinary science and environmental research While analysis reveals the structure of a system and how it works, systems thinking reveals why it behaves as it does.. Systems’ thinking involves the use of both, analytic

and synthetic thinking. The epitome of systems thinking is found in design; the epitome of analytical thinking is found in scientific research. Effective design requires the fusion of science, the arts, and the humanities. (Ackoff and Rovin, [22]) The citation stresses the need for systems thinking and synthesis of knowledge from different academic disciplines. The process of EcoDesign, as outlined in Section 4, is an engineering and design process, which draws upon several disciplines, some of which belong to natural sciences (physics, chemistry and mathematics) and others to the social and human sciences. In the presented EcoDesign course there has been interplay between learning in those different disciplines. The following discuss the educational differences between some different fields, in relation to the experiences from the course. Individual and collective human activities and decisions result in environmental changes, which in their turn affect new choices and decisions. How people are making these choices is studied in the humanities and in social sciences whereas the natural sciences study how the human activities affect nature. Consequently, to get a handle on environmental problems, academic expertise from different scientific cultures as well as experiences from industry, business, public administration and non-governmental organizations must be considered and combined. The Swedish Research Council (VR) has studied the application of human and social sciences within environmental research [23]. In this report, it is suggested that environmental research should build bridges between different disciplines. Furthermore; the research funding organizations have successively given higher priority to interdisciplinary environmental research, e.g. through the establishment of interdisciplinary centers and research programs. One Swedish development in this area is the strategy for research that was established in the year 2000 where social science was attributed a stronger position in environmental research. The study by the Swedish Research Council also discusses problems with interdisciplinary research. One challenge is that the differences between academic cultures make it difficult for researchers to understand each other. The selection of researchers, liaison between researchers and the establishment of a professional project management team are crucial. It tends to be difficult to keep the interdisciplinary networks active during sufficiently long periods, because the funding is often limited to short time periods. In the Research Council’s interviews, a number of researchers stressed that in interdisciplinary research there is often a lack of time for critical thinking and integration. A variation of interdisciplinarity is transdisciplinarity. Here researchers from different academic disciplines are working together with practitioners, so that their experiences and knowledge may blend with that of the researchers’. In an International Transdisciplinarity Conference 2000 [24] it was claimed that this approach is needed for solving real-life sustainability problems.

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5.4. Sensemaking The cooperation between practitioners and scientists is dependent on a common conceptual basis for dialogue. There is a need for a common ‘‘map’’ to relate to, to be able to make sense of things in such a way that people from different disciplines can enhance the level of mutual understanding, i.e. to become more interested in truly talking with each other. During a number of years in the mid 1990’s Karlsson participated in work with the computer based Life Cycle Assessment tool, EPS, which contain one-dimensional numbers that provide explicit specification of aggregated environmental valuations of different construction materials. Such numbers are difficult from a conceptual point of view and quite difficult to calculate in an unambiguous way. Still the interpretation was that the dialogue within the project became much more engaged and enlightening because the project members could take those numbers as points of departure in the project dialogue [25]. Similar observations about the importance of having some kind of common basis for dialogue, even if it is inaccurate, have been made in management sciences, e.g. by Sutcliffe. ‘‘Having an accurate environmental map may be less important than having some map that brings order to the world and prompts action [26].’’ In his book on Sensemaking [27], Weick continues this line of thinking and describes how an incorrect map may be better, for the ability to find one’s way, than if there is no common framing at all. In Weick’s view; sensemaking is, not about accuracy, but rather, ‘‘about plausibility, pragmatics, coherence, reasonableness, creation, invention and instrumentality.’’ 6. Discussion and reflections Now, when reflecting on the experiences in the light of pedagogical theory, we find that the kind of learning aimed for in the EcoDesign course is commonly elaborated in pedagogical literature that focuses upon the promotion of a higher level of didactic or critical reflection. Two such models, one by Uljens and one by Yorks and Marsik are illustrated in Fig. 5. Uljens’ model deals with the individual teacher’s didactic or pedagogical reflections in relation to didactic theory. Fig. 5 shows this model upside-down in comparison to Uljens’ [13] model, which has the epistemological level at the bottom. Yorks’ and Marsik’s [14] critical reflection pyramid deals with action learning, mainly in adult education and relates to collective inquiry. Those models are suitable as references when discussing the threes questions in the introduction. 6.1. EcoDesign pedagogies 6.1.1. What kinds of education are needed to enable more productive development and utilization of EcoDesign knowledge, concepts, approaches and tools in product and business development? The course’s open interdisciplinary dialogue was a search for wider understanding. This relates to the two or three higher

Epistemology Content, process and premise reflection

Scientific theory

Content and process reflection Subjective theories Reflected experience Content reflection

Actual events in the “real” world

Incidental reflection

Fig. 5. Two models of how higher levels of didactic and critical reflection relates to actual real world experiences. The didactic model with circles is modified from Uljens [13,p.249] and the critical reflection pyramid is modified from Yorks and Marsik [14].

levels in Bloom’s taxonomy, namely analysis, synthesis and evaluation. It is hardly possible to measure if the course achieved a more productive development and utilization of EcoDesign knowledge, but the students’ reactions and assessment in relation to pedagogic theory give some indications. The students’ comments and evaluations of the course imply that it has done well in promoting the kind of interdisciplinary understanding and critical thinking which is mentioned in the above pedagogic literature. The combination of study-visits and lectures with different perspectives on societal sustainable development priorities and EcoDesign as well as the writing process was appreciated; it challenged the students to think in new ways. One of the educators’ ideas with the more unconventional lectures like Koskinen’s and Sanne’s was to provoke and stimulate the students to reflect on the ethical and epistemological aspects of EcoDesign. However, is seems that such broadening of the perspective tends to take time. During the course, several students found it difficult to directly relate these lectures to the field of EcoDesign. Now, three years later, the connection seems more obvious, at least to the two PhD students that have been co-writing this paper. It is a prime sustainable development challenge to build conceptual clearness about the relations between environmental considerations, social and ethical incentives and societal possibilities. In order to build genuine understanding and interest, it is essential to visualize the significance of the new concepts by usage in ‘‘real action’’. One key motivational factor to engage in the interdisciplinary renewal oriented learning in the course was the contact with trustworthy persons from groups of professionals that represented legitimate interests in the needed conceptual transformation and bridge building. The involvement in, interaction with or at least dependable inside information about the ongoing renewal oriented processes is important to build relevant understanding and true

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engagement. In the EcoDesign course; the students had dialogues with professionally active change agents during the study visits and in association with the lectures by the persons from the companies. A number of the presentations had an ethical twist and in particular Koskinen, the priest, discussed relations between sustainable development priorities and human quality of life in a compelling way. The interactions with the committed lecturers and the various dialogues were crucial for the build up of student motivation. The engagement in interdisciplinary dialogues built a more coherent conceptual foundation that seems to have enhanced the students’ ability to promote more effective use of environmental knowledge in product development processes. 6.2. Education to promote integration of EcoDesign 6.2.1. How can EcoDesign education support integration and utilization of EcoDesign methods and tools into the core of a company’s mainstream product/service development processes? The lectures and the discussions underscored that it is essential to go further than to deal with specific requirements and not only provide the product developers with explicit education and information. Those things are all important, but there is also a need for implicit understanding and tacit knowledge as well as inspiration grounded in ethical values and feelings that are shared among a significant group of people. As pointed out in Section 5.1, the EcoDesign promoter’s capability to act as an ‘‘educator’’ is crucial. In addition to the ability to reflect on his/her own EcoDesign activities; it is also important to reflect on the process of EcoDesign introduction in relation to a higher level of theoretic scientific and epistemic aspects, as described by Uljens [13]. 6.3. Pedagogies for EcoDesign doctoral education

precision of that saying will affect what they see, question and peruse’’ [27]. This renewed interest in conceptual clearness is similar to the kind of awareness raising objectives that is present in earlier, more established pedagogical models such as Blooms taxonomy (Fig. 4). 6.4. Summing up of discussion One vital aspect in Weick’s ideas about ‘‘sensemaking’’ [27] is that the significance of new concepts has to be revealed in real action; otherwise they are not likely to become genuinely appealing. For example, business people tend to focus their attention where the action is, and consequently the new concepts should be visualized, in real use, where the action is. The main assignment in the EcoDesign course was to write papers together. For researchers and research students, the usefulness of their knowledge in the writing of papers for actual publication is an important form of ‘‘action’’ enabling attribute. However, to make sustainability concepts, and conceptual developments, truly interesting for business people they should be shown in actual, real world operation, in support of what the companies, and their renewal interested stakeholders and actors, want to achieve. The Doctoral forum’s later course, ‘‘Environmental efforts in competitive business development’’, investigated and documented some of the sustainable development dilemmas that proactive companies are struggling with. The authors think that this type of endeavor is important to achieve significant, real world, sustainable development effect, as a result from the ongoing education for sustainability endeavors. To make EcoDesign happen, it seems to be a key issue to simultaneously engage in real world action and critical epistemological reflection. 7. Educational suggestions and conclusions 7.1. Suggestions for similar courses

6.3.1. What pedagogical concepts and approaches can be used to further improve EcoDesign education and training? From the pedagogic point of view, the experiences from the EcoDesign course correlate with the pedagogic literature that focuses on the promotion of a higher level of didactic and critical reflection, e.g. as described in Section 5.1 and as illustrated in Uljens’ [13] three reflective levels and Yorks’ and Marsik’s [14] critical reflection pyramid in Fig. 5. In Fig. 5, the EcoDesign course’s interdisciplinary ambition may be interpreted to strive for a higher level of understanding, rather than a wider one (compare Fig. 3). Irrespective, if this kind of learning is interpreted as striving for higher, wider or deeper knowledge, it is important to build a wider and clearer understanding around the concepts that are used for the promotion of sustainable development actions and transformative learning. This is in concert with how Weick stresses the importance of linguistic and conceptual clearness, in the concluding section of his textbook on sensemaking. ‘‘If people know what they think by seeing what they say, then the variety, nuance, subtlety, and

It is a prime educational for sustainable development challenge to build conceptual clearness for interdisciplinary interaction between environmental awareness and business development. In order to build genuine interest, it is essential to visualize the significance of the new concepts by usage in ‘‘real action’’. Ideally this ought to be achieved by active participation in renewal-oriented processes in companies. However, this is not easily achieved within the time limits of a one-semester course. In the above mentioned courses, by the Doctoral forum, this was attempted by letting the students become a part of and feel related to, several levels of on-going groups that represent a legitimate interest in proactive, conceptual bridge building, e.g. leading professionals and representatives from sustainable development orientated companies, government, researchers and NGOs that might add important ethically grounded views. They all testified that there are indeed things going on in numerous companies, which was beneficial for the PhD students learning. The social interaction was an important characteristic of the course. It was promoted by the common study-tour, seminars,

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discussions and various social contacts. Those activities also included participation by the lecturers. One side of the connection to the ‘‘real word’’ activities was the multidisciplinary approach in lectures and writing. However, as noted in Section 4.2, this caused some difficulties to deal with new research methods. A comparative presentation on the methodology in science, engineering, design and social science with a special attention on qualitative methods could facilitate the use of new methods. Alternatively the target group might be widened as was done within the later course, ‘Environmental efforts in competitive business development’, in the autumn of 2004. In this course, students’ from a wider range of academic traditions, mainly economics and engineering, met in lectures and project work. This was a fruitful approach to provoke the students to cooperate across the borders of different scientific methods. Each student contributed with his or her own perspective and knowledge in various dialogues and with the objective to make a case study and report together. This kind of interdisciplinary cooperation provides a much deeper insight than if a group of engineers tries to undertake social science or natural science, on their own. In the course evaluation, some of the EcoDesign students stated that the course’s content was thin regarding explicit knowledge, methods and tools for application, i.e. at the lower levels of Bloom’s taxonomy. It can be discussed how to balance the different categories of educational goals. Olstedt’s [5] results indicate that it is a more common weakness that the training has too low level of abstraction and too little critical thinking. However, the student satisfaction is related to their expectations and the content ought to match that. It may be appropriate to allocate more time to work with explicit EcoDesign methodologies in combination with epistemic reflection, e.g. by a critical survey of Eco Design tools, probing their usefulness and potential to generate change.

The above forms of rationally based actions can be essential in the development of Education for Sustainability. It is important to make use of the wisdom that is available in the pedagogical sciences. However, the love for learning, being curious and learning with the ‘‘students’’ may be even more crucial than the most advanced pedagogic methods. As noted by Noel Gough [28] pedagogic and epistemological perspectives tend to relate to conventional schooling. To achieve the needed level of transformative learning it seems essential ‘‘that teachers and learners tend to ‘share and do’ rather than ‘show and tell’.’’

7.3. Conclusions The experiences from the courses and from the pedagogical literature indicate that multidisciplinary approaches and systems thinking are crucial to really make EcoDesign happen. There is a need for a wider perspective on technical product development, accepting the complexity and promoting interdisciplinary synthesis. It is necessary to enhance the contextual understanding and the awareness of the present human situation in order to be able to act as an EcoDesign promoter, an educator or ‘‘learning coach’’. In order to effectively guide people and organizations in transformative learning, one needs to reflect on experiences, theories and on epistemic questions, related to the meaning and the implications of the tools and theories. In education for sustainable development it is valuable to develop those proficiencies. It is essential to get in real contact with business people to be able to relate sustainability priorities, theories and tools to company goals or to work with them to revise their goals, methods and products.

References
[1] Capra F. The Web of Life, A New Synthesis of Mind and Matter. London: Flamingo, Harper-Collins Publ; 1997. [2] UN general assembly, resolution 57/254, http://www.un.org; 2002. [3] Habermas J. Kommunikativt handlande. (selected texts from Theorie des kommunikativen Handels translated by Melander A). Goteborg: ¨ Daidalos; 1996. [4] Higher Education Act, Law 1992:1434, 1:9. Stockholm: National Agency for Higher Education; 1992. [5] Olstedt E. Att tanka kritiskt. En studie om larande, PBL och IT i ingen¨ ¨ jorsutbildningen. Dissertation. Stockholm: Ped. Institute, University of ¨ Stockholm; 2001. [6] Bauman H, Boons F, Bragd A. Mapping the green product development field: engineering, policy and business perspectives. Journal of Cleaner production 2002;10(5):409e25. [7] Brezet H. Dynamics in ecodesign practice. Industry and Environment Review (UNEP IE) 1997;20(1e2):21e4. [8] Simon M, Poole S, Sweatman A, Evans S, Bhamra T, Mcaloone T. Environmental priorities in strategic product development. Business Strategy and the Environment 2000;9(6):367e77. [9] IEEE Environmental, Health and Safety Committee. White Paper on Sustainable Development and Industrial Ecology. Washington DC: IEEE; 1994. [10] Hettich P. Epistemological approaches to cognitive development in college students. In: Sutherland P, editor. Adult Learning, A Reader. London: Kogan Page; 1997.

7.2. Further development of EcoDesign education The joint writing processes by the mixed student groups stimulated development of a more coherent understanding. The focus on an explicit task compellingly illustrated the importance of interdisciplinary dialogue. In the further development of education for sustainable development it would be interesting to use a similar process in other kinds of syntheses in connection with contact with the ‘‘real action,’’ in renewaloriented processes in companies. As a way to enhance the understanding of relations to a wider set of sustainability considerations it would be fascinating to develop courses built with a basis in; 1. Dynamic systems modeling of the EcoDesign work in relation to sustainability challenges and transformative business development ambitions. 2. Involvement in action research as a part of some companies’ renewal oriented product and business development activities.

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O. Bergea et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xx (2006) 1e12 ˚ [21] Vincenti W. What Engineers Know and How They Know It. Baltimore: John Hopkins Press; 1990. [22] Ackoff R, Rovin S. Redesigning Society. Stanford: Stanford Business Books, Stanford University Press; 2003. [23] Lundgren LJ, Nordlund C, Storbjork S. Miljons Manskliga Dimension. ¨ ¨ ¨ ˚ Stockholm: Vetenskapsradet; 2002. [24] Thompson Klein J, Grossenbacher-Mansuy W, Haberli R, Bill A, ¨ Scholz RW, Welti M, editors. Transdisciplinarity: Joint Problem Solving Among Science, Technology and Society e an Effective Way for Managing Complexity, Proceedings from the International Transdisciplinarity Conference, Switzerland 2000. Basel: J. Birkhauser Verlag; 2001. ¨ [25] Karlsson R, Steen B, Wendel A. EPS as a Life Cycle Oriented System Assessment Tool to Facilitate Industrial Learning About Relations to the Environment. In: Proceedings of the 15th International System Dynamics Conf 1997. Istanbul (Turkey). [26] Sutcliffe KM. What executives notice: accurate perceptions in top management teams. Academy of Management Journal 1994;37(5): 1360e78. [27] Weick KE. Sensemaking in Organizations, Foundations for Organizational Science. Thousand Oaks, (CA, USA): SAGE Publications; 1995. [28] Gough N. Learning with environments: towards an ecological paradigm of education. In: Robottom I, editor. Environmental Education: Practice and Probability. Geelong: Deakin University Press; 1987. p. 49e67.

[11] Bloom BS, Krathwohl DR. Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: the Classification of Educational Goals, Handbook I: Cognitive domain. New York: Longmans, Green; 1956. [12] Sandell K. Education for Sustainable Development. Lund: Nature, School and Democracy; 2003. [13] Uljens M. School Didactics and Learning. East Sussex: Psychology Press Ltd; 1997. [14] Yorks L, Marsik JM. Organizational learning and transformation. In: Mezirow J, editor. Learning as Transformation. San Francisco: JosseyBass; 2000. [15] Mezirow J, editor. Learning as Transformation. San Francisco: JosseyBass; 2000. [16] Senge P. The Fifth Discipline: the Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. New York: Doubleday/Currency cop; 1990. ˚ [17] Karlsson R, Nasir J, Bergea O, Jonsson T. Systems thinking for Sustainable Resource Management in Environmental Management Education. In: Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Systems Thinking in Management. Geelong, (Victoria, Australia): Deakin University; 2000. [18] Medawar P. The Art of the Soluble. London: Methuen; 1967. [19] Liedman SE. Mellan det triviala och det outsagliga. Goteborg: Daidalos; ¨ ¨ 1998. ´ [20] Pitt JC. What engineers know. Techne 2001;5(3):22.

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