Education for sustainability using a campus eco-garden as a learning environment

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Abstract

Purpose: This paper aims to explore stakeholder perspectives of the role of a campus eco-garden in education for sustainability (EfS). It will combine the perspectives to highlight a powerful learning environment (PLE) for university students to realize the concept of EfS. Design/methodology/approach: Semi-structured interviews were conducted to reveal stakeholder understandings of a campus eco-garden, as well as its associated expectations of learning activities and education outcomes. Three stakeholder groups were interviewed; designers, educators and environmental and non-environmental subject-related students. Findings: All three stakeholder groups expected cognitive learning of EfS to be enhanced by the eco-garden. The use of affective learning was not strongly expected by the stakeholders. Psychomotor learning was believed to be the most difficult to realize. To fulfill the potential of the eco-garden in EfS, all stakeholders suggested learning activities and roles for both students and teachers. The combined perspectives of the stakeholders helped to visualize a PLE to aid EfS. Practical implications: This study underlines the importance of effective communication of expectations between stakeholders. It underlines the importance of integrating educational activities with the eco-garden as a PLE, highlighting the roles of teachers and students. It also sheds light on the importance of introducing a cultural component to the EfS program. Originality/value: This is the first study to apply the PLE theory to enhance EfS with the aid of infrastructure. Both users and designers reveal their views on the planning of the campus eco-garden, especially in its educational function. The study is possibly the first to reveal the differences in expectations between designers and other stakeholder groups (teachers and students) using Könings et al.’s (2005) combination-of-perspectives model. Copyright © 2017 Chi Chiu Cheang, Wing-Mui Winnie So, Ying Zhan and Kwok Ho Tsoi.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-262
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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Sustainable development
learning environment
Education
stakeholder
sustainability
Students
education
student
learning
teacher
concept of education
cognitive learning
Group
educational activities
Planning
educator
infrastructure
Communication
planning
university

Bibliographical note

Cheang, C. C., So, W.-M. W., Zhan, Y., & Tsoi, K. H. (2017). Education for sustainability using a campus eco-garden as a learning environment. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 18(2), 242-262.

Keywords

  • Campus eco-garden
  • Eco-centric world view
  • Expected education outcome
  • Garden-based learning (GBL)
  • Powerful learning environment (PLE)
  • Stakeholder perspective