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Educating corporate sustainability – A multidisciplinary and practice-based approach to facilitate students’ learning

Schulz, Klaus-Peter, Finstad-Milion, Krista, Janczak, Sergio
Journal of cleaner production 2018 v.198 pp. 996-1006
case studies, concrete, corporate social responsibility, curriculum, learning, models, stakeholders, students, France
This article explores a case study of a multimethod approach to students' learning of corporate sustainability. Corporate sustainability here is seen as a comprehensive and multidisciplinary issue, closely related to Corporate Social Responsibility. The basic idea of this article proposes student learning as a joint activity with a corporate partner. Learning is therefore not only to be considered as knowledge acquisition but as mutual development of both students and partner practitioners. To integrate the diverse stakeholders, a multimethod curriculum is suggested which includes, as a central element, a playful modelling approach using childrens' building blocks. Central to this approach is the creation of a shared understanding among a multidisciplinary group to reveal individual learner's creativity with the goal of developing concrete solutions and enrichening theoretic concepts for corporate sustainability. This study is based on a review of existing learning concepts for corporate sustainability combined with conceptual models of playfulness and modelling in learning processes. In the case presented, learning activities and their outcomes are reported on from a family-owned, medium sized, industrial company in France. In the discussion, the authors engage in critical reflection on the outcomes in terms of their relevance for corporate sustainability learning by means of playful modelling and mutual development. The results indicate that the learning process provided for the students should not merely be based on passive consumption but rather on an active discourse with practice and intervention. It can be concluded that the value of the learning approach, with regard to the highly relevant and complex topic of corporate sustainability, lies particularly in the playful modelling approach, which integrates the diverse perspectives and enables multiple development through revealing the learner's creative potential, including emotional aspects.