Lessons learned and Future Research Directions in Educating for Sustainability Competences

Merce Junyent Pubill, Gisela Cebrian, Ingrid Mulà*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in BookChapterResearchpeer-review


Transformation towards sustainable development requires people who are motivated and capable of challenging current systems. But what competencies are needed to facilitate and implement effective change for sustainability? This question has been central for the past decade to scholars interested in sustainability and education for sustainable development leading to the development of generic sustainability competence frameworks. As the field of sustainability competencies is consolidating, important criticisms are raised about the lack of conceptual clarity of the competencies proposed and how these can be developed, supported and assessed. In addition, the discourse has been dominated by North American and European perspectives leading to a cultural bias in the definition and interpretation of these competencies. Also, considering how social and institutional structures can hinder or facilitate the development of people’s capacities in relation to sustainability, little attention has been paid to the need to contextualize competencies within socio-cultural and institutional settings. Furthermore, with COVID-19 accelerating and mainstreaming e-learning, challenges are presented in terms of what online pedagogies can be used to support the acquisition of these competencies. In this chapter, we capture some lessons learned from recent work and suggest some future directions in order to instigate new developments in this area.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCompetences in Education for Sustainable Development. Critical Perspectives.
EditorsPaul Vare, Marco Rieckmann , Nadia Lausselet
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
PublisherSpringer Nature Switzerland AG
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-91055-6
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-91054-9, 978-3-030-91057-0
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2022

Publication series

NameSustainable Development Goals Series (SDGS)
PublisherSpringer Nature
ISSN (Print)2523-3084
ISSN (Electronic)2523-3092


  • competencies
  • education for sustainable development
  • sustainability


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