Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

New concept model published for course curriculum design and learning journey mapping

Published: 20 September 2019 at 13:38

A paper on ‘Mapping Students’ Development in Response to Sustainability Education: A Conceptual Model’ co-authored by Dr Alison Greig (GSI) and Dr Julian Priddle (AL&T) has been published in a special issue on education for sustainability in the MDPI journal Sustainability and is available on the AL&T Pedagogic Resources Directory.

Our current curriculum enhancement programme supports sustainability as part of all students’ learning, in line with our academic regulations that state ‘every course must include knowledge and skills to promote sustainable development and a transformative experience for students to act as agents of sustainable change’.  This new conceptual model of ‘sustainability learning’ for higher education provides a tool for mapping the learning journey, supporting course curriculum design and potentially serving as a self-evaluation tool for students.

The model integrates pedagogy and course content into a three-dimensional space to map the course curriculum and the student’s ‘learning journey.’ It comprises three simple scales; two relating to learning and teaching and a third that they coined ‘disciplinarity’ to measure the breadth and complexity of subject coverage.  Learners can then be represented as different loci within the space at different points in their development, enabling continuing evaluation.

Students can also use it as a tool to self-monitor and reflect on their learning which encourages critical thinking, flexibility and problem solving - all required skills for employability.  

The model was evaluated by sustainability educators from a number of UK universities and will be rolled out to be used by other ARU teachers as a course curriculum design tool and to help visualise learning progression for both learners and curriculum designers to reflect on their progress.

Says Julian: “Our work on this conceptual model will be of large benefit to course curriculum designers, teachers and learners to monitor how the course is delivering the skills students need to become active agents of sustainable change. It will help them to map where they are on their learning journey and what may need to be done to help them to progress. The model is not just about sustainability and can be applied to all courses.”

The paper is available to read on the AL&T Pedagogic Resources Directory and on MDPI.

Alison and Victoria Tait will also deliver a ‘Talking about teaching seminar’ on ‘Designing ‘from the whole to the part’: an outcomes-based approach to course design thinking,’ on Tuesday 3 December, from 13.00–15.00, in Cambridge. Book here.