Transformative learning for sustainable development: living labs as powerful learning environments

Against the background of a call for more transformative approaches to learning in Higher Education, this research addresses the capacity of students to solve (complex) societal problems in a sustainable way. With a focus on living labs currently created by the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, School of Built Environment, this research aims to create insight into how such learning environments enable students to create sustainable solutions.

Building on the educational concept of transformative learning, the Rotterdam case study will work towards a set of pedagogical, didactical and organizational principles to guide the design and implementation of learning spaces such as living labs. This will be achieved through the methodology of Educational Design Research (EDR). With a focus on ‘learning by design’ and close collaboration with the teachers, students and other stakeholders involved, the approach for data collection will be participatory and includes methods such as participatory observation, focus group discussions and semi structured interviews.

About Marlies van der Wee-Bedeker

Marlies van der Wee-Bedeker is a teacher and researcher at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, School of Built Environment, and external PhD-candidate at the Chair group Education & Learning Sciences. Her research interests focus on learning in relation to social and ecological sustainability. Within this theme she addresses the topics as transformative learning, critical pedagogy and experiential learning. Marlies has a background in teaching (bachelor), educational sciences (master) and international development (minor). At the Rotterdam University she lectures in courses related to sustainability, ethics, critical thinking, social learning and (applied) research skills. With her PhD-research she aims to support the design and implementation of living labs currently created by the School of Built Environment.


Project team