Learning in Networks for Sustainable Development

Angelique Lansu*, Jo Boon, Peter Sloep, Rietje van Dam - Mieras

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Article in proceedingAcademicpeer-review

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    The didactic model of remote internships described in this study provides the flexibility needed to
    support networked learners, i.e. to facilitate the development and subsequent assessment of their
    competences. The heterogeneity of the participants (students, employers, tutors) in the learning
    network provides relevant diversity in expert perspectives.
    In today’s (networked) business environment, ever more collaboration takes place through virtual
    platforms and tools. Learning for Sustainable Development could profit from the opportunities such
    platforms offer, as part of it. Taken from the Brundtland Report (1987), Sustainable Development is
    development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future
    generations to meet their own needs”. Sustainable Development has a high level of complexity, with
    its need for integration of socio-political, environmental and economic perspectives, its uncertainty in
    future and its dedication to an enormous range of levels of scale, acting from local to global. Because
    of the complexity of the concept, the defining of competences and learning outcomes for Sustainable
    Development is not easy. Learning for Sustainable Development could be described as obtaining the
    ability to cross the boundaries between multiple perspectives in interaction with stakeholders and
    actors in sustainability issues. An authentic example on the Dutch-Flemish Scheldt Estuary debate,
    described in the present study, shows such different perspectives and how they influence the
    scientific study of and decision-making on sustainability issues. We argue how learners who have to
    deal with these kinds of different perspectives will develop their personal competences in an effective
    way. The didactic model of remote internships that we use, allows learners to work in virtual teams
    on current, authentic research assignments in contact with their customers: real employers in the
    professional field. Moreover, the didactic model enables learners to define their own activities
    according to their personal learning goals matching the external requirements of employer and
    university. This allows our learners - adult distance students at the formal BSc Environmental
    Sciences programme (Open Universiteit) - to start from their own unique perspectives, having
    different prior knowledge, in different learning domains and from different professional experiences.
    The multiple perspectives show themselves in the practice of virtual cooperation with peers and
    experts from both the academic and professional community. Thus, the present study explores how
    an online remote internship model can effectively support competence development in a
    heterogeneous professional learning network.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Networked Learning 2010
    EditorsLone Dirckinck-Holmfeld, Vivien Hodgson, Chris Jones, Maarten de Laat, David McConnell, Thomas Ryberg
    Place of PublicationLancaster
    PublisherLancaster University
    Number of pages8
    ISBN (Electronic)978-1-86220-225-2
    Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2010
    EventNetworked Learning Conference 2010: Seventh International Conference - Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
    Duration: 3 May 20104 May 2010
    Conference number: 7


    ConferenceNetworked Learning Conference 2010
    Abbreviated title Networked Learning 2010
    Internet address


    • Networked Learning
    • Scheldt Estuary
    • virtual business learning


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