Interactive and situated learning in education for sustainability

Altomonte, Sergio, Logan, Brian, Feisst, Markus, Rutherford, Peter and Wilson, Robin (2016) Interactive and situated learning in education for sustainability. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 17 (3). pp. 417-443. ISSN 1467-6370

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This study aims to explore the opportunities offered by interactive and situated learning (e-learning and m-learning) in support of education for sustainability in disciplines of the built environment.


The paper illustrates the development of an online portal and a mobile app aimed at promoting students’ motivation and engagement with sustainability in design, and discusses the outcomes of their testing, investigating users’ acceptance, comparing academic results and analysing feedback.


The findings add empirical evidence to the view that information and communication technology-enhanced pedagogies can substantially contribute to the agenda of sustainability in higher education, primarily due to their affordance of interactive communication and contextualisation of knowledge, while guaranteeing flexible time and pace of learning.

Research limitations/implications

The study solely focused on the development and testing of e-learning and m-learning tools to foster students’ competence of sustainability in design studio work. The tools trialled were mostly at their prototypical stage and their testing included a relatively short-term evaluation and a narrow, self-selected, user base. However, the approach and findings are felt to be applicable to a much wider range of educational contexts.


Interactive and situated pedagogical methods and tools have the potential to prompt a departure from transmissive educational models, encompassing at once theoretical, experiential and analytic learning processes. This is of value to education for sustainability in disciplines of the built environment due to the requirement to holistically consolidate multi-/inter-/trans-disciplinary knowledge into a coherent design whole.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Higher education, Sustainability, e-Learning, Student-centred learning, Deep learning, m-Learning
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Engineering
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2016 08:54
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 17:39

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