Co-creation, agency, critical thinking and dialogue

Profound crises urgently require a transition towards more sustainable and just socio-ecological systems. However, there is significant disagreement within and between societies about how such systems should look and how we could move forward in making them a reality.

The importance of education for a sustainability transition, on the other hand, is widely agreed upon. For example, higher education institutions are considered transformative actors for sustainability by policy (e.g. SDGs) and in academic discourse. The importance of learning processes is also increasingly recognised in the development context.

However, a closer look shows that it is rarely evident what knowledge, skills or dispositions should actually be learned. Most of the time, there is also a lack of reflection on how such learning should be made possible. Accordingly, the applied design of learning processes in the particular context of sustainable development is the core interest of the thematic focus "Transformative Learning".

In order to contribute to a sound understanding of learning processes, we investigate how transformative learning and co-creation can be initiated and facilitated in communities, with multiple actors and with students. We are particularly interested in emancipatory approaches that develop agency through critical thinking and dialogue. Transformative learning touches on personal values and beliefs - accordingly, we also investigate how values and beliefs can be made visible in learning processes and what effects this has.

An important principle in our research is conceptual precision and transparency in implementation.

Selected publications

Probst, L. (2022): Higher Education for Sustainability: A Critical Review of the Empirical Evidence 2013-2020, Sustainability 14(6), 3402

Zoma-Traore, B; Ouedraogo-Kone, S; Soudre, A; Ouedraogo, D; Yougbare, B; Traore, A; Khayatzadeh, N; Meszaros, G; Burger, PA; Mwai, OA; Solkner, J; Wurzinger, M; Probst, L (2021) Values and Beliefs That Shape Cattle Breeding in Southwestern Burkina Faso. Human Ecology 49(4): 429-441.

Probst, L., Bardach, L., Kamusingize, D., Templer, N., Ogwali, H., Owamani, A., ... & Adugna, B. T. (2019). A transformative university learning experience contributes to sustainability attitudes, skills and agency. Journal of Cleaner Production232, 648-656.

Probst, L., Ndah, H. T., Rodrigues, P., Basch, G., Coulibaly, K., & Schuler, J. (2019). From adoption potential to transformative learning around Conservation Agriculture. The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension25(1), 25-45.