ESD has made inroads in new pedagogical ideas in future flexible higher education – HEA report


Education for sustainable development (ESD) has already made inroads in six new pedagogical ideas that have cross-cutting significance for learning and teaching in the future of flexible higher education, says a report published by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) in November 2013.


Authored by Dr Alex Ryan and Professor Daniella Tilbury from the University of Gloucestershire, Flexible pedagogies: new pedagogical ideas has identified six new pedagogical ideas on flexible learning as follows:

  • Learner empowerment – actively involving students in learning development and processes of co-creation
  • Future-facing education – enabling people to think critically, creatively and flexibly to generate alternative visions of the future
  • Decolonising education – extending intercultural understanding and experiences of students so they can be sensitive to global ways of working
  • Transformative capabilities – seeing capabilities not just as abilities but being able adapt a skill to be used in both familiar and unfamiliar circumstances
  • Crossing boundaries – to support interdisciplinary, interprofessional and cross-sectoral learning
  • Social learning – developing cultures and environments for learning that harness the emancipatory power of spaces and interactions outside the formal curriculum, particularly through the use of new technologies and co-curricular activities


The report highlights how each new idea has been integrated into the learning and teaching of ESD, which is now visible at all levels of education worldwide.


Moreover, it says that flexibility should be seen as a skill in its own right, rather than simply as an inclusive method of teaching in higher education.


This report is part of the HEA’s ‘Flexible pedagogies: preparing for the future’ series and its final series report by Professor Ron Barnett will be published in Summer 2014.


Photograph of the authors is from the University of Gloucestershire. The image of the cover of the report is from the HEA website.




Flexible learning: six new ideas


Flexible Pedagogies: new pedagogical ideas (Report)


Flexible pedagogies: preparing for the future


ESD page on the HEA website


ESD-related posts on the satellite websites of the Sustainable University One-stop Shop


Blog/ reflective diary


EDUCATION pathway to a Sustainable University (Part 1): curriculum content and delivery


Opportunities for integrating sustainability across curricula (Part 2 of EDUCATION pathway to a Sustainable University)


University of Planetshire approach to integrating sustainability across the curriculum (Part 3 of EDUCATION pathway to a Sustainable University)


Outputs of the University of Planetshire Approach to integrating sustainability across the curriculum (Part 4 of EDUCATION pathway to a Sustainable University)


The starting point of our sustainability crisis?


Who depends on whom? A game of plates




Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) London Conference 2014: Call for Papers


QAA/HEA ESD Guidance Document for UK higher education goes under consultation


HEA-NUS Report 2013: Student attitudes towards and skills for sustainable development


New website: The Guide to Quality and Education for Sustainability in Higher Education


CONFERENCE: Quality Assurance, Enhancement and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD): Creating a Framework for Dialogue


Gloucestershire workshop on Education for Sustainability in Higher Education


Delivering ESD and graduate attributes through Hybrid Problem-Based Learning


New TOOLKIT: Problem-Based Learning: A Case Study of Sustainability Education


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